Monday, September 28, 2009

Marathon Season Week 1

Well, as I have already posted, I have decided to run another marathon. I'm doing it for a number of reasons: 1) I can, 2) my friend Kirk Luther is laying in the hospital after emergency heart surgery, so in a way I'm doing it, because he can't, 3) I have run four, and that seems like a weird number and 4) it's one thing that actually fits into our busy family schedule since most of the training is done early in the morning.

So, what's my plan? When I ran my first marathon, I followed Hal Higdon's plan, which was simply an increase of miles from week to week It worked, and I ran a 3:46. For my second marathon, I used the Furman FIRST program, which was three core runs and cross-training, results, 3:22, a BQ time. The third marathon was run two weeks after the second one, so there really wasn't any training plan used, results, 3:21. For Boston, my fourth marathon, I basically followed the FIRST program with slight modifications, results, 3:36 (cramping and heat hindered me). For this one, I'm trying something of a hybrid plan. I'm going to use the FIRST concept with my own variations and simplifications. I have six weeks until the marathon, and I have an excellent fitness base from triathlon season, so my weeks are going to look like this:

Monday: Off or cross-train, most likely swimming
Tuesday: Speed work, 4:00 on/4:00 off x 5
Wednesday: Cross-training, swimming
Thursday: Tempo work; 20:00 at 7:00 per mile
Friday: Off
Saturday: Long run, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, 15
Sunday: Bike 20-30 miles

As you can see, my speed work is going to simply be around 3 miles a week, nothing fancy, 4:00 intervals, or around 5x1000 m. Tempo, 1:00 below goal pace for 20 minutes, and a gradual increase of mileage for my long runs.

In a sense, I began training on Saturday as I was out running what I thought was going to be an easy five miles. I was off yesterday, because of a trip with my son Kyler to State College for the football game. Today I biked 30 miles at a 17.7 mph pace. This weekend will be the true test of my readiness, as I'll begin increasing my long-run mileage.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Harrisburg Marathon

Nothing would have convinced me that I was going to begin training for a fall marathon when I awoke this morning.

I was going to go for an hour trail run, which then turned into planning on doing an easy five around the neighborhood. I had a cup of coffee, read the sports section, laced up the shoes and departed. There was a crispness in the air, and the tell-tale smells of autumn, and I quickly fell into a comfortable 7:45 pace. I kept running, but turned right onto my seven mile route, forgoing the five-mile plan I began with. Then, I kept going past my seven mile turn, and stretched my run out to ten miles.

Along the way, I heard the "call to adventure," and mentally began to calculate what I would have to do to get ready for a marathon six weeks down the road. I decided I had the time, and I was feeling very good, so the decision was made. Harrisburg Marathon on November 8th, BUT, I'M NOT RUNNING BOSTON IF I BQ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Speedwell Triathlon

Three weeks ago, I banged my shoulder up in the Livestrong Ride, and was glad that I hadn't signed up for the Marshman Triathlon. Two weeks ago, I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to to try and enter the Speedwell Sprint triathlon, which I was able to do. The night before the race, I got an even bigger wild hair up my ass and decided to once and for all get the monkey off my back, so I transferred into the Olympic event.

Race Day

Conditions were wet and muddy in the transition area. The temperature was in the mid 60s and there was a steady drizzle. The water temperature was 65.

I arrived about 1 hour and 45 minutes early, which gave me plenty of time to set up and hob nob with my fellow racers. at about 7:30 a.m. I went for a mile warm-up run then returned and donned my wetsuit for the swim. After the race announcements it was down to the lake.


This was the real monkey on my back, a 1 mile swim in open water. It wasn't so much the distance, but open water swims tend make me a little crazy. There is something about being in murky water and not being able to get your bearings that drives me nuts. Nonetheless, there I was, and when the gun went off I began to swim, and swim, and swim. And, to be honest, it wasn't bad. I was able to get into a rhythm much faster than in a sprint and I was very relaxed. My time was a little slow, 30 minutes, but for my first swim, I was pleased as I swam a little faster than my usual 2:00 per hundred yards. I was a little wobbly getting out of the water and back onto land, but my transition was right around 2:00.


I didn't know how to pace myself on the bike knowing that I had to run a 10k as opposed to a 5k, so I took it a little easy, which was probably good because of the road conditions. I was passed by very few people and managed to do my share of passing on the long slow climbs up Long Lane. I managed an 18.7 mph pace, which looking back was a little to slow, because I had pretty much left in the tank when I started the run.


6.2 miles over a tough, hilly course. I did well here and finished in the top 25 of all competitors (I'm not counting those people who ran as a relay) in this event. I managed a 7:13 pace, and could have managed that even if I would have pushed a little harder on the bike.

Results and Final Comments

*2:43:58; 59th place overall; 8th in my age group

* Need a little more work in open water swimming, but that will come with experience. The monkey has been removed, I'm ready for another Olympic event.

* Could have pushed a litle harder on the bike, eased up a little too much when I wasn't around other competitors.

* Running is my bread and butter, but I have to put myself in a little better position by improving in the first two events.

* Volunteers were great; course was fine by me. I'll do it next year.

* Semper Fi and OOHRAH!! to Chris Kaag the race director.