Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mega Long Run 23 miler!

I met Dan, Michael, Clay and Dale (all running CIM in 5 weeks) at 60th and the aqueduct for a 20+ mile run. Dan, Michael and I ran together the whole way starting east to the turnaround and back on the dirt side. We made a pit stop at our cars and then headed west to 110th, again out on the asphalt and back on the dirt side. This was the first time I had completed the entire section of aqueduct in one run and it turned out to be 21.5 miles total. Michael pushed the pace on the way back and we were under 8:00 pace most of the way. I forgot to restart my Garmin at the pit stop but Clay and Dale both said it was 21.5 miles. I felt strong most of the way back and realized that If I ran 23 miles today I would have 170 for the month, so I turned back around and did two more miles. I also figured if I was going to go longer than 20 it should be this weekend giving me 5 more weeks until race day. Because of the Garmin mishap I had to go by Dan's watch and estimate that It took me almost exactly 3 hours to run at least 23 miles (probably more like 23.5). It was a beautiful calm morning and I was over dressed again in my long sleeves.

October monthly totals 170 miles! I don't have good records past the last two years but I believe this may be my highest monthly total ever! I have always been a fairly low mileage marathoner.

Our Twin Cities Marathon picture came in the mail and I thought I would share it. This was the only decent picture with the two of us in it. Do my arms really cross over that much?

Running Times Magazine (December 2009) came out this week and it is always a better read than Runners World. This issue had a good article on: Pain - How Top Athletes Manage the Mental Stress of Racing. Here are two quotes I liked:

"My best races have been when I decided right from the get-go, I'm here. I'm going to go until I blow up. Being a distance runner is about handling pain. If you can't manage pain, you probably won't end up as a distance runner." --Kara Goucher

"I think about Jesus on the cross. I think about my wife. I think about my family watching the race at home. Sometimes I really don't think about anything. I find the best way to manage pain is not to have a set formula because different things work at different times. What matters is that the thoughts are positive."--Ryan Hall

I also found this article titled "Pushing Past the Pain of Exertion" linked off There is definitey a difference between exertion pain and acute injury pain. You have to know the difference to race well and avoid hurting yourself. Mr. McCall from the American Council on Exercise has some advice: “Exertion pain comes down to three words: ‘Suck it up.’ ”

I fully expect some "exertion pain" in 5 weeks. I hope that I am able to "suck it up" and maintain my goal pace (6:40) for as long as possible. Threshold runs and long tempo runs are a good way to train your body to deal with some amount of discomfort or pain. I like to use the term "mental toughness," which you gain from good hard training. Positive thoughts and thinking is also imperative.

Finally, here is a good interview on tapering in your last few weeks for the marathon from Ryan Hall. The information is great but I don't know why he is on a leg extension machine. You would think he would have better trainers than that. If he has any patellofemoral pain he can blame that machine. If he doesn't have any patellofemoral problems he may soon. Great information and great interview though. Check it out.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Threshold run

It is 6:30am and I already got in 10 miles today! It was dark and cold out there! I ran a warm up from my house to the aqueduct (2 miles) then did a 6 mile threshold run up there (splits= 6:46, 6:39m, 6:32, 6:30, 6:24, 6:10) and a cool down back home (2 miles). Total mileage was 10 in 1:12:54. I didn't mean for the splits to get progressively faster, the plan was to run at 6:30 pace for 6 miles. The cold temps took me a little longer to get loose. Also, I could barely see out there even with my headlamp, so I may have held back a bit so I didn't trip and fall. Now I know what it is like for Marla Runyan. Right after my turn around spot I saw two meteors! Awesome!

I missed my Tuesday run due to 60+ mph winds, and was just too lazy yesterday.

The 40th running of the New York City Marathon is this Sunday. There is definitely coverage on and possibly on TV. The race is doubling as the US Men's Championships so there should be some great competition and times. Ryan Hall, Meb, Abdi, Brian Sell, and many others are running.

Actor Anthony Edwards is also running for shoes 4 Africa.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Early 10 mile Recovery Run

I met Dale at Ave S and the aqueduct at 5:45 am for a 10 mile recovery run this morning. Both of us ran hard yesterday and needed some easy miles to loosen up and get some more time on the pavement. We were both stiff at the start. Our first mile was 8:48. We settled in and talked about our runs yesterday. Dale ran 1:10:37 at a Huntington Beach 10 miler for a PR! Congrats Dale!

I have only run one 10 miler in Mesquite, NV in 62:20 but I think I was probably faster en route to my half marathon PR of 1:20:00 on a downhill course.

We ended up running our 10 miles today in about 85 minutes (avg pace 8:30) and my legs actually felt much better after the run than before.

Total mileage for the weekend was 24. My last 6 weeks of training have been very consistent and I am starting to feel the effects (in a good way).

My plan for this week is easy mileage until Thursday where I will do a threshold run. Then a 20+ miler on Saturday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Half marathon time trial with Dan (1:31:04)

A college friend of mine, Dan Ham (who is also running CIM with a goal of sub 3:10), came up last night to run a half marathon time trial with me. Both of us wanted to run a half marathon as a tune up for CIM and were unable to find just the right one so I invited him to come up and run on the aqueduct. I told him I would pace him to a 1:30:00! It would be a long marathon pace run for me and a race effort simulation for Dan.

We started at 60th and the aqueduct and went east for 3 miles out and back. We left fluids on our cards for quick water stops. We then headed on the west side 1.5 miles to 70th and turned around again for another water stop at mile 9. I told Dan we could go out a mile and back twice for one more water stop, or out for two and back to end at 13.1. He said he was ok to go out two and back for the finish as he was carrying some fluid on a fuel belt. The last 4 miles were tough for Dan but he dug down deep to pull through in 1:31:04, an unofficial PR by 9 minutes!

We ran very even. Our splits were: 6:54, 7:00, 7:03, 6:54,6:49, 6:52, 6:52, 6:47, 7:06, 6:58, 6:58, 7:07, 6:56. Awesome Dan!

We went through 5 miles in 34:42
We went through 10 miles in 69:21
Finished in 1:31:04 (avg pace 6:57).

His VDOT based on today is 50.24 and predicts a marathon of 3:09:53! He is right on track.

I know he wanted to be closer to 1:30, even possibly under, but the last 4-5 miles were tough. He really had to grind it out and I ran a few steps ahead to pull him along. He got a nice ice bath afterward and we talked about how to best utilize his last 5 weeks of training. We decided he needs two 20+ milers and at least two more marathon pace (7:15) runs of 8-12 miles. He will be running easy this week and attempt a 20 miler next Saturday.

Temps were great but it even got a little warm towards the end. My car said 72 degrees afterward. I felt really strong today and could have continued at that same pace. I too need a few more long runs, fast finish runs and MP runs (6:40 pace).

43 days and counting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

9 miles on Thirsty Thursday

I got in another rare afternoon run today. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past week and today was no exception. When I left around 2:30pm it was in the low 80s, lots of sunshine, and only a light breeze. I don't run mid day to often and I felt a little hot!

I wanted to do something different. I get stuck on a few loops that I like and don't change it up enough. So today I did my usual Rancho Vista Loop...BACKWARDS! I determined that it is harder to run it my normal direction as the steeper hills are toward the end of the run. I got in 9 miles in 1:07:18 (avg pace 7:28). Here are the splits: 8:04, 7:28,7:18, 7:25, 7:17, 7:25, 7:29, 7:23, 7:27. I was constantly holding back on the run telling myself to slow down. I have a long tempo run on Saturday with Dan. 13.1 in 1:30:00 (avg pace 6:50).

Thirsty Thursdays with Jack Daniels are back on Flotrack starting last week. This weeks segment was another great one so check it out.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Track workout 5x1600m cut downs

What a great track workout! I met Dale at Joe Walker for 5x1600m with a one lap recovery. There isn’t much to say, the splits talk for themselves.

6:21, 6:15, 6:06, 6:04, 5:49

I started at about half marathon pace and ended at 5k pace.
There was a light steady wind down the home stretch that got stronger as the workout progressed.
Rest time was one lap jog and a 10m walk up, probably 2.5-3.0 minutes total.

I ran to the track for warm up plus a little on the track (2 miles total). I finished with one mile cool down. Total mileage for the day = 9miles.

Did you all hear about the 3 people that died at the Detroit Marathon/Half Marathon last weekend? Runners World interviewed a Cardiologist with questions about why this happens in the article here.

My question is what do these people change for race day? Would they have died if they were running a long hard tempo run at home? What makes race day so different? Could it be an increase in caffeine from a combination of coffee and gu w/ caffeine? These people are mid packers, they don’t seem to be weekend warriors, and they are almost always men. The articles I have read report the death rate as high as 1 in 50,000 and as low as 1 in 120,000. But they also say that runners have 30-50% lower rates of heart attacks. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the risks!

Jordan Hasay was third in her pre-nationals xc race this past weekend. Not bad considering the only two women ahead of her (Jenny Barringer and Susan Kuijken) are also recent Olympians.

Finally, here is a new one! The leader of the Des Moines Marathon had to stop late in the race (about 400m to go), not becuase he dropped his fluids, not for a port-a-potty stop, but for a passing freight train! The second place runner caught up to him while they waited for the train to pass but the man who was leading still ended up winning. Read on.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

25 mile weekend!

I had a good mileage weekend. Now I need to maintain this volume over the next 6 weeks.

Saturday I met Clay (who started earlier and was at mile 3 by the time I caught him) on the aqueduct. We went east toward Highland HS, out on the dirt side and back on the asphalt side. We maintained an easy pace on our first loop (8:30/mi) and then increased to his marathon pace (7:30/mi) on the next loop (we repeated the same loop). My splits will be a little different than his because our mile splits were not at the same spots (we didn't start together). Here are my last 7 mile splits: 7:49, 7:38, 7:41, 7:31, 7:29, 7:23, 7:02.

Clay ran 20 and I ran 17. We both felt good about the workout.
My total time for the run was 2:18:32 (avg pace 8:09).

It was a fast finish long run for Clay. This is a great workout for anyone preparing for a race of 10k or more. The progression run or fast finish run allows you to practice running at your goal pace after running for a set amount of time. In this case, Clay and I ran easy for more than an hour and a half and then picked it up to his marathon pace. This will help him run hard late in the race when he is already tired. It is much easier on your body to take the first 2/3 of the workout at an easy pace, and you still get the marathon pace effort benefit. This can be done with any distance. For example, if you were training for a 10k, you could run 8 miles with the first 6 easy and the last two miles at 10k pace. One of my best fast finish workouts was an 18 miler (12 easy and 6 above MP) in preparation for the Boston Marathon in 2008!

Today I did an easy 8 miles and averaged just over 8:00 pace on an out and back route that took me out to the end of Ave. M and on to the dirt roads out there.

Total mileage for the weekend was 25!

Next weekend is the half marathon time trial (1:30) on Saturday morning.

Friday, October 16, 2009

6 mile Friday morning easy run

I got in an easy 6 miler before work. The weather was beautiful. The route was down to Lane Park, three loops, and back home. I averaged just under 8:00 pace. The left hamstring is a little tight again. Better take it easy this weekend. Planning on a two hour run tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

8 mile Quartz Hill run in the rain

I was able to get out for an uncommon afternoon run today. I left the house at about 2 pm and headed out for my half mile hills run. I added on another half mile hill today for a total of four. The course is from my house down to L-8 and 70, then zig zag up and down back home. I go up each hill for a half mile then turn left and go down to the next hill. I run up 70th, 65th, 60th and today 55th each for a half mile. It started to rain steady while I was on 70th. So each hill was in the rain and into the wind. It was a tough run and again I pushed the pace a little hard but I am feeling more comfortable at these faster speeds.

Splits were: 7:17, 6:53, 7:05, 7:17, 7:18, 7:18, 7:15, 6:48.

Total 8 miles in 57:13 (avg pace 7:09)

I think I typically run better when I don't have to jump out of bed and hit the road right away.

Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette ran the Bizz Johnson Marathon this weekend in 4:17. Not bad. I checked out the race web page and it looks like a beautiful course in near Susanville, CA (north of Reno, NV). The times were amazingly fast with a third of the finishers under four hours. I couldn't figure it out until I saw the elevation profile here.

If you ran a marathon this weekend, this study found that you are six times more likely to get sick in the three days following the race as a result of immune system dysfunction.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

9 mile afternoon run and weekend results

I thought about going longer today (12-14) but I was tired from the traveling yesterday. How do you get so tired sitting on your butt all day? I decided to do the Rancho Vista Loop from my house and then see how I felt. I left the house around 1:00pm and it was already a little windy. I had to hold back to keep the pace easier early on. I finished 8 and then did a mile cool down for a total of 9 miles in 1:08:28 (7:37 pace).

Splits 7:54, 7:39, 7:36, 7:32, 7:24, 7:36, 7:46, 7:18, 7:42.

There were some great times locally and around the world today.

Dathan Ritzenhein ran 60 minutes on the dot at the World Half Marathon Championships, good enough for third place, right in between two Kenyans, and one second away from second place!

Local valley resident, Sergio Reyes, ran a very smart race at the Chicago marathon today finishing in a 3 minute PR of 2:15:30 (I had guessed 2:15:20). He started off conservatively and ran very even splits. His half marathon split was 1:07:42. Sammy Wanjiru won the race in a course record 2:05:41. Sergio lead the "chase pack" finishing in 8th place and first American finisher! See a picture of his finish at the asics aggies web site. This is a huge accomplishment. An improvement by 4-5 more minutes over the next two years could mean a trip to London in 2012. Wanjiru overshadowed the results but Sergio was mentioned as the first American in the Chicago Tribune article here.

Deena Kastor was a disappointing sixth in 2:28:50, but she did negative split and her time is third fastest American woman for the year.

Double amputee, Richard Whitehead, broke his own marathon record for amputees at Chicago in a time of 2:50:38!

Clay, Dale, and Chuck all ran the Long Beach Half Marathon this morning and posted some great times. Clay and Dale ran together in 1:34:17 (a new PR for Dale!). Chuck ran 1:32:15 (not bad since I think he is still recovering from the Air Force Marathon). All three were in the top 20 in their age groups.

Dale, I was recalling our New Year's Day Aqueduct Half Marathon only 10 months ago where we ran 1:37:52. A PR of 3 minutes 35 seconds in that short of time is HUGE! Congratulations!
If you asked Clay he would say that he has speed advantage and Dale has the endurance advantage. They have become good training partners for each other, and they are becoming more and more equal. They ran the race together, Clay pushing the pace early and Dale with his fast finish! Nice work guys. Check out splits and some great pictures on Clay's blog and commentary on Dale's blog.

T-shirts slogans from this past weekend:
"Does this shirt make my butt look fast"
"In my dreams I am a Kenyan"
"If found please drag across the finish line"
"We said we would run a marathon when Brett Farve became a Viking"

Friday, October 9, 2009

10 mile parkway progression run

Ok, I know I am supposed to be in recovery mode but I was feeling really good today. I wanted to do 10 miles and the farther I ran the faster I went. It ended up being a progression run of sorts. Andi and I started by running around Crystal Lake near my dad's house for 2 miles (yes there really are lakes all over the place), then we looped around the parkway once for 3 more (see yesterday), she stopped there and I continued south down the bike trail for another 2.5 out and back. This is my favorite stretch of parkway and I just had to run on it while I was here. I always get going fast on this bike path and it feels effortless. The weather was still in the high 40s with sunshine, it was great. I passed a guy on a bike on some of the uphills. My splits for the run were: 8:20, 7:52, 7:58, 7:45, 7:45, 7:14, 7:11, 6:48, 6:47, 6:38.

Total time for 10 miles was 1:14:48 (avg pace 7:28).

Eight weeks until CIM, minus one week for taper, equals seven weeks for some hard training. Can I run 26.2 miles 55 minutes faster (nearly 25% faster) than I ran last weekend? It sounds a bit daunting but I think it is possible.

Tomorrow is a travel day so there won't be any running. It is supposed to be cold too with the possibility of SNOW!

Good luck again to all the guys running the Long Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, and good luck to Sergio Reyes this weekend at the Chicago Marathon. Sammy Wanjiru (the Olympic marathon gold medalist) will possibly be going for the world record in Chicago as well. Deena Kasotor will be making her marathon debut in Chicago after breaking her foot in Beijing. The World Half Marathon Championships will be in London on Sunday, and Alberto Salazar says he won't be suprised if Dathan Ritzenhein goes under 60 minutes. We should see some fast times all around the world this weekend. Looking forward to hearing about all of them.

Finally, some of you may have heard about the TWO deaths at the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon last weekend. The Running Doc at Runners' World has some interesting commentary on his most recent blog post here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One hour recovery run

We took the last two days off after the marathon. We both felt good, as far as soreness goes, on Tuesday but it was pouring rain all day. I had a little sore throat on Saturday night and I think the marathon made things a little worse. I have been congested the last two days. It actually felt good to run today and helped loosen things up a bit (legs and lungs).
I didn't take my Garmin but the stretch of parkway my dad lives on is about 3 miles around. Andi and I did 2 laps (50 minutes) and I finished off the run with an extra 10 minutes. So I am crediting myself with 7 miles for the day (we were going faster than I thought we would be able to(somewhere around 8:00-8:30 pace). It was a beautiful day. I always have to take a parkway picture when we come. See last years shots here. Below are the pictures from today.
I was thinking about my best two marathon times and what I did leading up to them. Both times I had run another marathon 2-3 months before. In 2005 I ran the LA marathon in March with Andi in 3:38 and then I ran 2:58 in June at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN. In 2006 I ran the Valley of Fire Marathon with Dean Karnazes during the Endurance 50 in October in 3:59. Two months later I ran 3:04 at the Las Vegas Marathon in December.
This year I will run the California International Marathon two months after running the Twin Cities Marathon in 3:49. Will this pattern of fast marathons continue? Stay tuned! I have two months of tough training to get me there. It isn't much time but I think it is possible. The next scheduled fitness test is on October 24th. It will be a half marathon tempo run in 1 hour 30 minutes. Recovery for the next 10 days!
Good luck to all that are running the Long Beach Half Marathon this coming weekend. I am foreseeing some great times!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon (3:49:58)

Sorry for the lateness of this post but it has been a busy day. We got up at 6:15 for an 8:00 start. My dad lives 15 minutes from the starting line. The temperature was 41 degrees when we got there. They opened up the Metrodome so we were able to get back inside and use restrooms before the race. We didn't go outside until about 15 minutes before race time. We were in corral 2 only because Andi had not run a recent marathon to use for qualifying time. So we started behind the 5:30 pace group! It took at least 6 miles to break ahead of all the slower runners and by then the course narrowed making it hard to pass other people. Our second 5k was faster than our first and we were able to get back on track with an 8:30 pace. We went through the half in 1:50:20 (about 2 minutes ahead of pace) we both were starting to get some calf tightness that only got worse, especially for Andi. Then we made a port-a-potty stop at mile 14 and started to feel a little better. The pace started to slow for us around mile 18 and the last 10 miles were tough. We really had to grind them out. Andi's calves were cramping worse and her legs were getting heavier. At this point we started to walk through the water stops which helped loosen her legs enough to start at a faster pace again. The weather was beautiful the whole way with temperatures staying in the 40's and a slight breeze that kept us nice and cool. We were almost overdressed. There is a net uphill from mile 20 to mile 23 but after that it is a flat and downhill finish. With about 2 miles to go we were able to maintain 8:30 pace again. I started to do the math in my head and could see the finish when I realized, if we pushed it in we could still be under 3:50. We crossed the line and Andi stopped her watch at 3:50:00. Our official time was 3:49:58!

Both of our legs were not fully prepared for 4 hours of running today. I had not run more than 13 miles at one time since our 18 mile run in Santa Clarita on September 5th, nearly a month ago. Andi had never been past 19.
I was very proud of her for grinding out those last ten miles and finishing strong. She did great! This was her first marathon since 2005 in Los Angeles (which we also ran together). It was great to run another marathon with her. Although it was tough we got through it together.
My Garmin got thrown off big time after going under a tunnel in the first mile. I was over a mile off by the finish. After reviewing our splits online I realized that our pace did not suffer that much until the last 10k (which was 56:05 or 9:01 pace). Including our potty stop and walks through the water stops we were very close to our goal of 3:45.
Our splits were:
5k: 26:51
10k: 52:42
Half: 1:50:20
30k: 2:40:30
20mi: 2:53:07
Marathon: 3:49:58
I maintained my streak of no marathons over 4 hours!
This was my 7th marathon and Andi's 5th.
45 year old Colleen DeReuck won the US Masters Title and just missed the overall and US Women's Title in a time of 2:32:37. Amazing!
Here are some pictures from after the race. The best post run food was the chicken or vegetable soup broth! It was warm, salty and wet and it hit the spot!
After the run we hurried home to shower, change, get in the car, and get to the ball game. We only missed the first three innings and had to walk up 18 rows to get to our seats. The prolonged sitting was the hardest part, but the Twins won 13-4 and forced a tiebreaker on Tuesday...which we got tickets for after the game! It was quite a day.

Only one lady at the game commented on our shirts!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

4 mile easy run

I was able to roll out of bed for 4 easy miles this morning. The will probably be the last miles before the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday. Travel day tomorrow and expo on Saturday! Weather prediction for Sunday is now mostly cloudy with low of 44 and high of 56. Check the blog for results!
I think they have live online tracking on I am bib #3400 and Andi is #F2980.
The Minnesota Twins are playing their last game in their current stadium (the Metrodome) at an afternoon game on Sunday. We will be going home to clean up after the race and then head directly over to the game. I hope there aren't too many stairs down to our seats!

"Even after all these years, running continues to amaze me. Mostly in its ability to clarify - to make things OK and bring you back down to earth, even when things are insane. Especially when things are insane."

Mark Remy, Executive Editor,