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Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 A1A Marathon

Well - where to begin. As I write this I have had a lot of time to think about the race and breakdown splits, time's, and distances, as well as emotions and thoughts since the race. I guess the first thing to say is I accomplished my first marathon! Since marathon translates to 26.2 miles, I actually accomplished more than a marathon distance wise, running approximatly 28.5 miles in all during the race. That right there, running 2.38 miles extra, is pretty much the big take away on my first marathon experience for me.

Backing up to the beginning, I arrived at the start around 5:20am after getting up around 4:20 to shower, eat a cinnamon raison english muffin, bannana, and power bar at our hotel located about .25 miles from the start. I found some water and slugged down a power gel around 5:40am and at 6am we were off! Weaving through the crowds the first mile I eased into a 7:43 first mile, and right away realized I had to pee. This has never happened so early in a race for me, in fact I have never stopped to use the bathroom (porta john) during a race. A little before the second mile I stopped quickly to pee and was off again. After the first 3 miles we got to A1A, and live music began to play from the streets. That pumped me up, as well as seeing the dawn colors of red and orange over the Atlantic.

We headed into Birch State Park after the first 4 miles, and here it felt like we were running in a peacful forest. Here I spotted someone who seemed to be going my pace and I started to gage my pace off of him. As we exited the park around mile 6, I got beside Jim, as he later introduced himself, and found out he was looking to run 3:10 (Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group). Hearing this got me excited as I was already running mid to low 7 minute pace and feeling that I could make an attempt for that time. {{As people have asked me what my goal time was, I have been reluctant to come up with a goal time as this is my first marathon and I really didn't know what to expect. Any rate, I threw 3:30 up as a target time before the race - figuring I should be able to achieve that}}

After the 8th mile my pace, with Jim, clicked under 7 minutes for the first time of the race, and I started feeling good. Jim told me that he was going to run a negative split for the race and that that was the best way, for him, to do it - as he has run that style of marathon successfully before. As Jim and I started getting in a cruising pace that felt good, my focus became sharp and my body remained relaxed. We came through the 9th mile again under 7 minute pace, and on the 10th mile Jim started to wonder if we were going the right way. We had turned just before the 9th mile split and did a U turn and seemed to be in a pack of faster paced runners than before. I didn't think for a second that we were going the wrong way, as I didn't see anyone else going a different way when we turned, nor did I hear or see anyone try and point us in a different direction. It was a little over a mile since we made the U turn that Jim finally stopped to ask a volunteer handing out water if Marathoners were on the right course. I had kept going ahead not thinking we were really off course, but when I turned around I saw Jim about 60-70 yards behind me with his hand up waving me in the other direction. I couldn't believe it. I started running hard to catch up with him, and then he told me that we had to go back. We both started darting around the pack again, who now was definitly going slower than the pack we just left. We had gone the opposite direction for over a mile.

There wasn't that much said between Jim and I once we started heading back. We both commented on how we couldn't believe what had happened, and how we didn't see anyone telling us to go another way. We kept running, still under 7 minute pace, and Jim then said to me that his goal was out the window and that this was going to have to be treated as a "training" run for him. I felt like I was in a different boat. This couldn't have been a training run for me if I wanted it to. I was IN a race, my first marathon, and no matter what time I crossed the finish line - and just crossing the finish line in general - would still be a personal record and my first marathon accomplishment ever. I had to finish, and I had to give full effort. I didn't have the luxury of past marathon accomplishments under my boat to satisfy this mishap.

After Jim had said this, I left him, and pushed the pace to sub 7 minute pace for the next 6 miles. Here, I had a lot of adrenaline and emotion from the misque, and took it out by running harder than I should have. But at the same time the whole race changed once we got off course, so I just wanted to leave everything on the course and make up as much time lost as I could. One thing I did through-out the race was to mentally tell myself that I was either an ultra runner (someone who runs races farther than marathons, or a Ironman type triathlete, thinking that people out there run on top of other exercises -swimming biking - in the same race, so that for me running farther was not the end of the world and that many people find the guts to do it.) With running, you have to stay positive, and you can't dwell on the past.

It was amazing how thin the pack became once Jim and I got regrouped with the slower runners who were previously 2 miles behind us. One thing about the whole race from that point on, was that I honestly almost passed people the entire rest of the race. It wasn't until the last mile that someone passed me. One quick mention is that unfortunatly, around mile 13 I had to stop and use the porta john again for a break longer than a pee, like I previously had to do. I figured I stopped for about 2:30-3 minutes here.

My knee started feeling sore from the first mile, and stayed that way until arounud mile 15 when I slowed down terribly, wondering if I was going to be able to continue with the pain. After that slow down period though, I was able to keep running normally as it seemed to go away. People talk about hitting the wall around mile 20, but for me I seemed to hold pace until the 24th mile - the last few I was suffering, but I was able to finish the entire run without walking (except for a couple strides around mile 24 where I "tried" walking for a second then quickly realized that was going to hurt me more and slow me more rather than just jogging it out.)

I grabbed water or sports drink every 2-3 miles the second half of the race, and also used some gel. I think that stuff worked good, as I was able to hold a solid pace for 20+ miles. It also became hotter as the sun came up late in the 8 o clock hour, and as we ran south down A1A back toward the finish, with the sun rising over the Atlantic to my left. Seeing that blue pretty ocean water was kind of like what I imagine seeing an oasis when you have been stranded in the dessert would feel like.

As I came in the final stretch, I saw Katie and heard her cheer for me about 50 yards before the finish line. I threw her a wave and came across the line in just over 3:37 minutes gun time. My chip time was 3.36.32 for the marathon + 2.38 miles(28.58 miles, approx, in all).

Taking the splits I was running from mile 7-14, I calculated I was running a 6.53 pace for that period of time, and so the adjusted half marathon split would have been around 1:33:49, as opposed to the one read on the results that shows 1:52:40. The difference here is 18.51 time, and taking out the bathroom break of 2.50 time, I ran about 15.01 time at 6.53 pace extra, which is about 2.38 extra miles. That being said, with the total distance I ran and my chip time at 3:36, I actually ran a 7.34 pace, which would have put me around 3:18-3:19 for a marathon. Another way of looking at it is, if I were to take the away my last two splits and calculate the pace from 24 miles at a time of 2:58:09, then my pace is 7:24, which translates to a 3:14:37 marathon. However maybe it would have been a little faster still, given that the whole race dynamic changed in every regard from pace to mental thoughts, to running economy (saving enough to finish).

Here are the splits: 7:43, 7:35, 7:39, 7:14, 7:29, 7:22, 7:16, 6:57, 6:56, 6:51, 6:56, 6:30, 6:41, 6:56, 8:50, 7:25, 7:30, 7:24, 7:31, 7:23, 7:19, 7:40, 8:25, 9:37, 8:41, 11:57 (1.2 miles).

Link to results:Here
And that's about all I have to say about that!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

last run in Charlotte (B4 the marathon)

Miles: 4
Time: 28.28
Pace: 7:07

It was cold outside and sunny, so with headband, gloves, long sleeve T and shorts I opted for my standard 4 mile route around our neighborhood as my final run before Katie and I take off to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow.

Went through the first mile in 7.06 and was feeling good. The idea was just a final easy jaunt before leaving tomorrow. I wanted to shake out any soreness from yesterday, and keep the legs feeling fresh. The pace seemed easy, and the second mile I split 7:12. Clicked off 7:15 and 6:51 for the final two miles.

The negative thing about today's run is my continuing nagging knee. It just won't seem to go away completly. Today it was pretty bothersome. I iced it afterwards and hope that it will not play a big factor on Sunday's race.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

400's and a Bobcats loss

Workout: 1 mile warm up, 4x400, 1 mile cool down.

Not having run since last Saturday, and not having gone more than 5 miles in 9 days, I decided to get in some 400s on the track near our house. Smith middle school is right on Tyvola near our neighborhood so I ran there and proceeded to get some turn over with some quarters.

Splits on the track were: 75, (1:30 rest); 74 (1:40): 76 (1:30); 66

The weather was very cold, and I am still not 100 percent healthy. It's been over a week where I have had a sore throat and feeling run down. One thing I am trying to do this week is good at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and so far I have. I just want to be feeling great come Sunday morning at the starting line.

This was also the first run outside in 8 days. The others, as you can see by the posts below have been on the treadmill. I have been trying to stay out of the cold weather because I've been sick, and today I can tell that it does make a difference, by me feeling lousy on the run.

Anyway: We went to the Bobcats game last night and they lost to the worst team in the NBA. You can see a post on it on my friend Josh's blog here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week in Review: 15

Miles: 17.4
Days run: 4

This week I basically felt sick the entire week. Not great timing as the Marathon is a week from today, but also at least I'm on the taper phase. The mileage would have been arounud 25 had I stuck to plan, but after Saturday's knee flair up and general inability to shake my "sickness" I just took it off. I don't know if I'll make up the 8 mile run as I only have 6 days now until my Marathon, but I'm still hoping the training I did earlier will carry me through.

As the training has wound down - I am able to look at it from a broader scope than I could before, and I am proud of what I did do. As I progressed, my intensity become greater and expectations formulated in my head, but from the beginning I look at my goals (1. Stay Healthy, Injury Free, obtain fitness to "enjoy" the experience) and I am satisfied as I believe I have attained all of those.

There are always going to be set backs, but it's good to keep things in perspective. The build up has been very worthwhile and has aligned me with focus, perserverence, and dedication - traits that had not been centered in my life for a while. I am looking forward to this week and soaking up all that it has to offer. I can't wait to travel with my wife, see South Florida, embrace warm weather, see a good old friend, partake in the race expo and festivites, and go through all the emotions, thouoghts and feelings of the 26.2 miles next Sunday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

easy 3 on the 'mill

Miles: 3
Time: 23:30
Pace: 7:50

Still fighting illness, and weather still fighting harsh winter, I again went to the Harry Y to knock out an easy 3 mile run.

This time, set the treadmill on 7:50 pace and cruised along while I watched the Tar Heels and Wolfpack in the second half. My knee bothered me today, and my legs didn't feel great alltogether on this run. My body seemed a little worn down, and this run took quite a bit of effort.

Friday, February 12, 2010

another short uptempo treadmill run

Miles: 4.2
Time: 29.45
Pace: 7:05
Shout out to Gerald Wallace, here dunking on LeBrono, who will be in the Dunk Contest tonight!

Landed back in Charlotte from my overnight in Nashville around 2pm. After catching up with wifey after I got home, I hit the door for a warm run inside over at the Harris Y. With only wanting to do 4 miles, I was looking forward to knocking it out on the treadmill actually.

Kind of the same run I did the other day, just not quite as high intensity and progressive. I started in the mid to high 7 minute pace for the first mile then started going down to 7 min pace the second mile. The 3rd mile I was running in the mid 6's, and for the last mile I did sort of a Fartlek stlye run (alternating between fast and slow) for the final minutes.

Felt good after the run as a whole, especially getting in some nice quick segments as well (sub 6 min pace).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Treadmill Surprise!

Pace: 6:58

So, today was supposed to be my last planned work out before the race on the 21st. I was wanting to do something longer, tempo like, for my last work out. Useually as you near the race, your last workouts become shorter, and you focus on speed. This is because as you begin in the training you are concentrating on base and endurance, and then it evolves to quickness and anarobic improvement, provided the base is there. Well - not having done as many "workouts" as I would have liked during the training, I still felt I needed one more tempo-style workout under my belt. Besides, I figure the more along the longer type workouts the better for the marathon, if I were to have to choose speed or endurance. Also, having some good mile repeats and 2 mile repeats under my belt, I think I should be okay - besides, I'm aiming for 8 min pace roughly for this marathon so not too much work needed to generate that kind of turnover.

Anyway, I was tossing around some ideas - 2 x 4 miles, 2 x 3 miles with a quick mile in between sets, a steady 6-7 mile tempo around 6:30 pace, or a progressive tempo starting around 7 min pace and dropping the time each mile of the non stop run. Then I began to feel under the weather on Monday.

On Tuesday as I was not feeling well, I figured I would set on a 6 mile tempo run at 6:30 pace, maybe a little quicker the second half if I was feeling okay - since I was feeling kind of sick and needed to probably concede to a "moderate" workout, as opposed to killing myself.

Well today I went to the Dr. and he advised me not to run, although I didn't have strep and he said I was just worn down and had a virus. Also, it was 50MPH winds outside and freezing so running outside - if I was going to do it - would probably not be good for my health. So...after popping a few Iburprofin, I drove to David's and we went to the YMCA after he talked me into at least getting in a few miles on the treadmill.

I felt good from the beginning. Having the ability to dictate your pace manually on the machine I started at 8 min pace for a couple mins then moved it down to uppper 7's and 730 pace the first mile and a half. After 3 miles I was moving along low 7's to 7 min pace, and the 4th mile I was dropping the pace in the 6 minute range - the last mile I got under 6 min pace - as fast as 5:22 pace for a couple mins, before finishing my last minute at 8 min pace.

So it wasn't what I wanted to do with my plan - but all things considered it was encouraging and rewarding.

Monday, February 8, 2010

light recovery shake out

miles: 5.2
time: 40.06
pace: 7.44

Just wanted to get a small run in, easy pace, out and back. Did just that. Legs felt good as I kept it nice and easy. Knee started acting up, but just annoying really.

Ran from home out to Seneca, then west until I hit one of the roads connecting on it from the North, then meandered down towards Tyvola, staying in Madison Park. Turned around after 20 mins, then kept about the same pace coming home. Hillier coming back. The last half mile I did 4 pick ups, or strides, as I got some quick turnover and longer stride to round out the days exercise.

Rain comes tomorrow....oh boy....may or may not run. Workout on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

week 14 review

Miles: 27.4
Days ran: 4

On the downhill side of my 20 mile run from last week, this was the first week of taper. Although I didn't plan on having such a light week, I still feel okay as I put together a nice run today. Only area I wish I didn't lag on was getting in another day of running so I would have been in the mid 30's for the week - making not such a dramatic decrease from week 13 to 14 in total mileage. (53 to 27!!)

The good news is, with any luck, I can still run a good marathon if I am totally fresh and have a great day. I think that could be a big boost, rather than the chance of not feeling fresh enough. As coach Curcio use to say, "the hay is in the barn." Hoping the hay won't go bad by the time the barn doors open Feb. 21st 6am in Ft. Lauderdale!

pep in the step

Miles: 12
Time: 1.28.13
Pace: 7.21

This was a great long run. A relativly shorter long run for me as I am on the taper phase of training, this one had a nice pace. We started off on 7:30-35 pace for the first 6 miles, and the comfort level there was pretty easy. I could feel myself holding back some, waiting for the second half of the run. After 6 miles we started clipping down to 7:15 pace for the next 2 miles, and then we crept up to 7:10 pace for the last 3 or so. The pace all the while was still "conversational", which shows improvement over. 2 weeks ago where we ran a slower pace at a harder effort, for relativly the same distance

Saturday, February 6, 2010

slow run with the old timers

Miles: 6.4
Time: 53 mins
Pace: 8:17

Nice slow pace for a community run featuring Mike Oelz and Alan Gibson from former ASU Cross Country fame. We started at Freedom park, and talked and ran around Myers Park. Fun easy run with the guys.

Friday, February 5, 2010


So this week has gone like this - running wise:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off - Travel, business and pleasure

Wednesday: 6 miles
Time: 44.29
Location: ran in Los Anglese down the L.A. River and to the ocean and back to Bohle's apartment.

Thursday: 3 miles
Time: 23 mins
Location: Treadmill, Anaheim, CA

Friday: Off - Travel, bad weather