Friday, May 25, 2007

Race Report :: Fargo Marathon :: Part 3

Part One
Part Two

A few moments later, I indulged myself with a little positive self-talk, and set off to reel in second place. I think I was around mile seventeen when I started, and by mile nineteen, I had him in sight. It didn't seem like I was making progress for a long time, but then suddenly he would be noticeably closer. The gap finally started to look like it was closing at mile twenty. At the marker, my time was 1:56:12, nearly a perfect even split between the conservative first ten miles and the cold, windy second ten. I was moving well, expending more effort, but holding steady while my competition was losing ground.

Somewhere in here, Todd introduced himself. He had been cycling out ahead of me since mile seven or so, part of the crew that was keeping tabs on the top few individuals from each race. He asked me what my name was, so that as he was riding out ahead, he could tell everyone who I was. He told me people had been asking. Sure enough, I started to hear less of "Number FOUR!" and more of my name. If I hadn't been thankful enough for the cheering before, I was practically gushing now. Having hundreds of people urging you on by name is both exhilarating and humbling. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend trying it out!

From mile 20 to 21, I kept myself calm, repeating in my head, "Don't get after him yet, not yet. The race starts up the road." I've heard from too many people that the race starts at 20 miles. I say, if it does, the race ends at 23. From inside the race, 20 miles is nothing. You're not ready to race, you're warmed up for the prologue.Some of the best advice I've heard is, if you think you're ready to push at 20, just wait until 21, and if you're ready at 21, wait for 22. And if you're ready at 22, well, you get the picture. I tried to keep all of that in mind as well as Mystery Coach's advisory that the race would start at 23 miles.

I was within ten meters of second place when the mile 21 aid station became visible a short distance ahead. As the distance to the aid station halved, and halved again, so did the gap. Within a few meters of the tables, I felt an automatic surge. A switch flipped. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed second place went for a cup of water. I did not. In an instant, the advantage was mine. Patience had paid off, and I was in second place!

In slow motion, I remember passing my last bottle, seeing the black triangles I had marked out the night before. It's mile 21, the race is nearly over. I won't need it, I rationalized. In hindsight, the risk I took was huge, but for some reason I thought creating a gap was more important than fueling up for the last 35 minutes of the race. Obviously, I don't watch enough NASCAR. This would be the biggest lesson of the race.

The next time check came through--still two minutes to the front. That gap was not closing. The race was won. I turned my focus to the race behind me. Just before 23 miles, I began to feel the first familiar signs of that deep fatigue the back-to-back workouts replicated so well. I think Thomas asked me a while back if bonking during a training run could actually be helpful. I would say now, yes, definitely. Knowing that I had broken through several 'walls' thicker than this in training was invaluable. It didn't make it easier, but it did give me confidence. I could hold on.

Mile 23 and 24 were a blur of effort and anxiety. Another time check. Two minutes. Don't care. How about a time check to third place? Since the pass, I had been listening intently to the crowds after I passed them, straining to hear the cheers as the third place runner passed. Each loud group that I passed, I heard only once, and they were cheering for me. Third couldn't be that far behind, could he? I thought about just sneaking a look back. Just a little peek. I stopped myself. I don't look back. Never have, and I wasn't starting today. More than being a sign of weakness to your competition, it is a sign of weakness to yourself. Still, I couldn't believe what I was not hearing. I had to know where I stood.

"I'll check it out, Sundog!"

Thirty-eight seconds was the gap I had built in the ten minutes since the aid station. Not a lot, and I was struggling mightily. I also learned that the difference between looking back yourself and having someone else look back for you is semantic. There is basically no difference. Your mind treats the information the same way--you speed up if the gap is closing, and you relax if it isn't. This frustrated me, because the reason I don't look back is that I believe I should always be putting in my best effort. I shouldn't need a reason. This train of thought took my mind off the increasing pain for about half a mile. An Exercise in Utility--haha.

At 24 miles, the gap closed slightly to thirty-five seconds. A quick check of the watch showed 6:10 pace for the last mile. Two miles was more than enough distance to turn the race around, and he was still fighting. I had to respond. My legs were thick, my stride was thin, and my fuel was gone. I grabbed a cup of gatorade in a last gasp effort to fuel my Final Stand. It was syrupy sweet. Way too strong. Exactly what I needed. I didn't get much more than an ounce, but by mile 25, it seemed to be making a difference. The effort was still maxed, but the fatigue was lifting, and it started to feel like I had willfull control again.

The confidence was compounding over the last mile. The gap was back to thirty-eight seconds, and my first glimmer of accomplishment started to sparkle. As each tenth of a mile clicked off, I got stronger. As I covered the last stretch of road before turning in to the FargoDome parking lot, I knew I had completed my first marathon. The beginning was finally at an end!

Todd stopped at the entry to the parking lot and turned toward me. I said a quick 'thanks!', gave him a wave, and I was on the homestretch. This part was a bit unnerving, as it was deceivingly long, winding around and down into a large service entrance. As I entered the building, I looked up at the clock. I distinctly remember being disappointed upon seeing the clock reading well past 2:33. I quickly put that behind me, and waved to the crowd. I heard my name, very loudly, and saw my wife, and then it was over. I crossed the line in 2:33:46.

A friend of mine asked me, who was the first person I remember after crossing the line? I know I walked through a gauntlet of people handing out medals, but the first person I remember was the guy who cut my chip off my shoe. He congratulated me, and I thanked him. Then, like Todd, he was gone. These ephemeral occurences stick with me very strongly. They are the essence of the experience, the thoughts that live on in your mind because there is no resolution, because you can't ever fill in the blanks or understand why that happened.

I finished the race able to walk well, and was lucid enough to start taking on fluids and get my warmup clothes on quickly. I had a bit of trouble sitting down to get my pants on, but no problems getting back up. I took that as a good sign, and it made me feel better about missing my time goal by such a large margin.

Almost immediately, I resolved to come back to try for the win next year. The people of Fargo were amazing, and as a lifelong resident of North Dakota, I'm particularly excited about the prospect of winning its biggest and best marathon. Hopefully it's more competitive next year, and there will be a fight to the finish in course record time. I can't wait.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Race Report :: Fargo Marathon :: Part 2

Part One

Turning off the bike path and heading north onto South 25th Street was spirit crushing. The wind was blowing hard and it suddenly felt 20 degrees colder. I tried everything to diminish my profile short of running sideways, and nothing seemed to help. My pace dropped to nearly 6:00 per mile, and I was working as hard as I felt I could only ten miles into the race. At the ten mile mark I was at 58:00, already :50 off of 2:30 pace with all of the minimal wind advantage already behind me. I was racing for places now.

The next several miles were a series of twists and turns through residential areas. It did take the edge off the wind, but it was still there, and still incredibly cold. With fewer spectators, wider streets, and small trees, the scene lacked warmth as well. Cliche as it is to write, I felt small and alone against the elements. I focused instead on getting to halfway, and then to mile 15, where I could pick up my next bottle.

Somewhere in this part of the race, I started getting time checks from my buddies Richie and Mahoney. They were riding around the course on bikes from the start, giving me encouragement during the early miles, and passing me tactical information toward the end. I knew they were going to be at the race, but I had no idea they would be following me around the course. Every few miles, they would show up at a corner and yell, "C'mon SUNDOG!". It was really cool, and another thing that I was able to look forward to during the tough stretches. The first check was probably around 14 miles, and it was 2:00 to first and second. So I learned they had been together basically the whole race up to that point. A bit disheartening knowing they were working together and I was isolated, but I had already made peace with the fact I was running my own race, so it didn't get me down.

The next check came through, still at two minutes, so I started to consider pushing the pace down a bit to see what I could do to that gap between now and twenty miles. It was naive, but I thought I was feeling pretty good, and what could five seconds a mile do to hurt me? I gave it a go, and shortly thereafter got another check from my guys.

"Two minutes to first, one minute to second! He's coming back, Sundog!"

Part Three

Later today--the second half of part two of a two part series! I'm not toying with you, I promise! I am a very slow, dithering writer, and I have to get showered and to work! More later--thanks for reading!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Race Report :: Fargo Marathon :: Part 1

Race morning was pretty relaxed until about 7:00 a.m. when we headed across the parking lot of the FargoDome and into the throng. This was by far the largest race I've ever been part of, and everyone had the same idea--stay inside, but close to the doors, so you can leave at the last possible moment to get to the start line without freezing to death. The temperature outside was a marathon-friendly 56F, but the wind was decidedly against us, steadily blowing out of the north around 18 miles an hour with gusts to 25. Better than heat, I thought.

Thinking that fifteen minutes was enough time to get my well-practiced five minute warmup done with time to spare, Cindy and I headed out the door. Clearly, this was poorly thought out.

As we made our way to the start, the crowd got more and more dense, until finally it was like being in the middle of a house party. So, there we were, still in full sweats, stuck in the crowd, with something like six minutes to get to the line, strip down, and get warmed up. Nerve wracking!

We eventually found our way around to the start line with time for a few short strides, which was just as well, because I was warmed up well enough from the stress. I got a few short strides in around race pace, and took in about 100 Calories of my drink. Talking with Dick Beardsley calmed me down, strangely enough, at least until the gun fired for the wheelchair racers. Lost in the conversation, I heard somebody say 'gun's up!' and momentarily FREAKED OUT thinking I had just missed the marathon start.

At some point in the conversation, I told Dick it was my first marathon, and upon finding that out, he proceeded to nearly shake my arm out of its socket. What a great experience! He is every bit as engaging and down to earth as the character that comes through in his books.

Okay, come on, let's hear about the race! I made eye contact with Chad Wallin, the eventual winner, just before the gun. He gave me a nod and a brief smile, which told me that he knew more about me than I knew about him. I got the feeling I was the unknown, the dark horse. Kind of a cool feeling, but ultimately irrelevant, as Chad would go on to kick my ass by over two minutes. I went as most dark horses do--into the vapour trail of the winner.

[Course map]

As the gun sounded, I tapped the watch and immediately set to work on my first task--a slow initial five miles. Mile one was a 5:53 with a slight tailwind, though the time at the mile marker was 5:46. I wasn't startled, as I had learned to trust my watch. And sure enough, mile two was a 5:50 on the watch, but a 6:01 on the marker. After that, I settled in to a 5:45 pace for a third, and ultimately final, warmup mile. Three out of five turned out to be pretty good, and I settled in feeling that I had invested a twenty second deficit from race pace very wisely.

I was very relaxed through the first part of the race, and found myself playing to the crowd quite a lot. It gave me a lot of confidence to be able to chat a bit with some of the people assembled along the course. I knew if I could comfortably talk and maintain my pace, I was at the right effort. The people were very enthusiastic and friendly, yelling out "Go FOUR!", or "Nice pace, FOUR!". Once in a while, and this was especially helpful toward the end, I would hear, "I can't believe how fast he's running."

If you're ever spectating the last few miles of a marathon, do the runners a favor and whisper that loudly to a neighbor. It really helps.

Mile seven was the first of three 'elite' aid stations. I had been allowed to place my bottles on the tables, even though I didn't officially qualify for 'elite' status. I grabbed my first bottle, and spent a good three-quarters of a mile getting it down. During that time, I passed Scott Colford, the eventual number four finisher. This was the only part of the course that stood me up like a sail, with the wind at my back.

It only lasted for a little over a mile, but I tried to use it as much as possible. I think I went 5:30-5:35 for that stretch, and I would have gone faster if not for the voice of reason in the back of my head telling me to conserve fuel, even at the cost of giving up the tailwind.

As mile nine passed, the wind picked up, and the bike path gave way to an open six lane road. This was the first of what would be seemingly endless stretches of freezing polar gales blowing me backwards over the last half of the course...

Part Two

Tomorrow--part two of a three two part series! I need to get some sleep! Recovery (and family) calls.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, May 21, 2007

More to come...

Sorry for the delay in posting up a race report, but be assured there is more to come. The response from family, friends, and the blogs has been amazing, and even a bit overwhelming! I'm want to make sure I respond to all of the e-mails, phone calls, and comments, as well as get a good report recorded for posterity.

I think I have a good report in store with (hopefully (sorry Abadabajev, I can't stop the humility)) a decent amount of drama. So please hang in there for a bit while I put it all together! And thanks for all of your support--I couldn't have done it without you all!


Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, May 19, 2007

2:33:45 :: 2nd Place! WooT!

Thanks to my co-bloggers, Mike and Abadabajev for posting up some splits. I'll make this short so I can get my recovery in, but I wanted to get a couple of highlights posted.

First, it was very, very windy. Not that I wasn't ready for it, but it would have been nice to have a breeze instead of a gale. There were a couple of long stretches with the wind at my back, so I made hay on those with some 5:35 miles, but there were quite a few more stretches that were very cold and windy, and flat out tough, and mostly during the second half.

That I nearly even split in these conditions is a testament to the value of conserving during the first few miles and the first half. I rocked the second half pretty hard, even with a tough stretch from 22-24. The back-to-back runs were INVALUABLE for dealing with the last 10k. It's a different kind of pain and fatigue, but not terribly different from the training. A big thanks to Mystery Coach for, well, the coaching!

Last thing before the ice bath--this is nuts. I line up for the start. On my left is Dick Beardsley and on my right is Andrew Carlson. I shit you not. I ended up talking to Dick for about two minutes, and we had such a nice conversation going that I was worried we were going to miss the gun! We made a joke about cutting in front of Carlson or some such nonsense, and Dick congratulated me on starting my first marathon. It was very cool, as you could tell he was genuinely excited for me. He's every bit the person that comes through in his books. Great guy. I also spoke with Andrew Carlson a bit after the race. The guy ran a sub-1:05 half, and he was asking ME more questions about how my race went than I had a chance to ask him! Another great guy.

Alright, into the tub. Today was not the day for it, but even if the conditions had been better, I don't know that sub-2:30 would have happened. It's a bigger barrier than I expected, and the sub-2:30 has earned my respect. Another day...

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, May 17, 2007

17:52 :: 3 miles

MP touch up. One mile warmup, then two miles at MP.

6:30(133) | 5:43(153) | 5:40 (155)

Heart rate returned to 120 in :38, to 110 in :51. Everything was comfortable, legs felt good.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

15:00 :: ~2 miles

Easy run. Walked for a few minutes to warm up, then two miles at 7:30-8:00 pace on the mill. Feeling good.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

1:03:19 :: 10 miles

Taper workout. Practiced my marathon warmup and start. Five minute warmup, first few minutes around 7:00 pace, then ~30 seconds at 6:00 pace, one minute slow jog, ~20 seconds at race pace. Seemed to work really well--legs felt good.

Five miles followed, trying to practice a conservative start. The plan on paper was 5:55, 5:50, 5:47, 5:44, 5:42, and it worked out like so:

5:55(150) | 5:48(150) | 5:45(152) | 5:42(153) | 5:42(155)

Overall, a bit fast, and mile three is deceiving because through 1k, I was just under 5:40 pace. Aside from a couple of 'too fast' spots, the five miles was extremely comfortable and relaxed. If I can really stay calm and focused on my own race, I think investing 30 seconds from race pace up front with a conservative start will pay off at the end of the race.

Following the five, 1.77 miles at 6:15 pace to recover before 3x1000 on 5:00. Mystery Coach suggested a pace of 3:00-3:07, calling it a 'good solid rhythm', which I had a good solid laugh at. I know that I came around pretty quickly from the first 1000s workout from struggling a bit with 3:15s to being comfortable at 3:07s, but to get down to 3:00 without a jet pack seemed like a bit of a stretch.

I decided to go with the flow and to avoid looking at the watch until I was near the finish, not wanting to influence the pace, just trying to catch a comfortable stride at what felt like a 'good, solid' effort.

2:59(167-1:09) | 3:02(163-:59) | 3:04(162-:59)

The first rep really surprised me. Mystery Coach suggested last week that I could take out my college 10000m PR right now, and after the 2:59, I believe him. The speed was effortless. I dialed back just a little for the next two, and again avoided looking at the watch. With each rep, my stride felt smoother and more automatic--just a great feeling.

Four minute jog to cool down, then into the house for a recovery drink and a 50F bath.

All systems are go. I'm feeling absolutely fantastic, and I couldn't get any better feedback right now. While there are always unknowns in the marathon race, one thing I can be sure of is my fitness--it is as high as it has ever been. It will be very interesting to see how much of my fitness I am able to leverage on race day. Excellent workout.
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, May 14, 2007

41:47 :: 6 miles

Easy run with 2x400 at around 5:20 pace. First 400 felt really good, second felt unbelieveable, so I stopped doing them. The goal of the up tempo running is to overcome the 'flat' feeling on the second recovery day so that it doesn't affect the workout on the third day. I wasn't flat at all, so it made sense to stop the 400s.

Bundled up with an extra layer today. Made things a bit warmer, but not bad. Noticed last week that my weight following the 20 miler was 138.8, which is going to be very close to my 'dehydrated' weight. Today, well hydrated before the run, I was at 143.6, and after, 141.6. Race weight will be 143-144.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Sunday, May 13, 2007

40:00 :: 5.9 miles

Easy run. Ran in the late afternoon to get some heat training in. Definitely got a sweat going and got uncomfortably warm, which should be a good stimulus.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, May 12, 2007

1:21 :: 12 miles

Easy run. Final longer run before the race. Everything felt good. Nothing else to say, really. Nice relaxing run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Friday, May 11, 2007

31:03 :: 5 miles

One mile warmup, then four miles in 6:12, 5:40, 5:38, 6:09. Recovery to 120 in :35, 110 in :46. Just wanted to get out and spin the wheels at MP a couple of times and get some light work in. Standing HR was 44(!) this morning, which is crazy. I couldn't be more ready for this thing. Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, May 10, 2007

43:27 :: 6 miles

Recovery run. Standing HR was 51, so I was already recovered, but I did a recovery pace run anyway. HR averaged 130, everything felt good.

Happy Birthday, Bono.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

1:17:41 :: 11 miles

Volume speed workout. 5-10 x 1000m in 3:12 on 5:00. Did an 18:00 or so warmup, then 8x1000 like this:

3:07(160-:46) | 3:10(157-:54) | 3:11(158-:51) | 3:10(159-1:06) | 3:10(163-1:02) | 3:09(163-1:16) | 3:09(161-1:07) | 3:09(161-:59)

Just over 2.7mi to cooldown, part of it with my neighbor, Rick. Workout went well. The first was too fast, then I settled in to the right pace by holding back somewhat. After the fifth one, I decided anything beyond that was a bonus, and that I would just relax and go how I felt. Those three reps ended up a little faster, but felt smoother overall. Got a touch of fatigue at the seventh rep, and decided to do one more, which actually felt really strong. No problems with the hip, although it is tingling and feels a bit tired right now. Cold bath and recovery drink after.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

54:30 :: 8 miles

Easy run. 1000s were on schedule today, but a little tweak in my hip after the run yesterday concerned me enough to put that off until tomorrow. Everything feels completely fine today, but I didn't want to take a chance. The workout is not so much for fitness--more for mechanical efficiency, so there's nothing to lose by putting it off a day. Anyway, on to what I did do. Six outside at around 6:25-6:30 pace, then two on the treadmill really easy. The legs felt kind of heavy and flat today, but at the same time, I caught myself sneaking into the sub 6:20 pace range during the run, and had to force myself to slow down a few times. Odd. Heart rate averaged 134 for the run, probably around 140 for the faster portion, which is still well within 'easy' range. Okay run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, May 07, 2007

4+ miles :: 30:00

Four-ish, with a couple easy, a moderate mile, and a couple of strides. Trying to avoid being flat for tomorrow as well as still run easy.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Sunday, May 06, 2007

57:24 :: 8 miles

Recovery run. Eight is the new ten. Standing around HR of 57, typical of the day following a back to back set. Temp was nice at 59F(15C), but 30mph(13m/s) winds were tough going out. Kept the heart rate well below 135 for the entire run, with an overall average of 131. Legs felt great--no soreness or anything. Stride felt smooth, even with the slower pace. Tough to believe I did MP runs the last two days. Good day.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, May 05, 2007

2:01:14 :: 20 miles

Long run with 10 at MP. Weather was ideal, except for a bit of wind--52F(11C), overcast and humid, with a 13mph(6m/s) east wind. It rained off and on during the run, mostly during the last fifteen minutes. If this weather shows up for Fargo, I will be like Crane Technique. I love using that Karate Kid quote: "Crane Technique. If do right, no can defense." Funny stuff. No? Hmmm. Moving on...

Mystery Coach's workout today was another 10/10, with the first ten slightly slower than last time at 6:30 pace, and the second slightly faster than last time at 5:40 pace. Instructions were to relax through the second ten and treat it like miles 5-23 of the marathon, only pushing the last three miles, but even then being careful to 'train, not strain'. Further, I was to limit my heart rate to a max of 164 throughout the second ten, even over the last few miles.

I try very hard to stick to what the Mystery Coach tells me. However, today I misread, and subsequently screwed up the workout. I normally have my wife read and interpret the e-mails to make sure I don't misunderstand, and of course today I didn't do that. I thought I was supposed to run the first seven MP miles in a relaxed fashion, staying below the 164HR, not worrying too much about pace, and then run the last three miles as if I was running the last three miles of the marathon, again, training, not straining. Seven miles relaxed, three miles controlled. Here are the splits:

[First Ten]
6:28(136) | 6:27(141) | 6:29(139) | 6:32(140) | 6:29(141) | 6:29(142) | 6:28(141) | 6:27(145) | 6:25(143) | 6:24(146)

[Second Ten]
5:49(160) | 5:43(161) | 5:45(160) | 5:39(161) | 5:40(162) | 5:38(163) | 5:38(165) | 5:38(166) | 5:34(169) | 5:29(170)

So, the bad thing--I didn't follow the instructions. But, it was an honest, stupid mistake. The good thing--I never got tired, didn't tie up, didn't have any mental issues (except the ongoing ones that have nothing to do with running) and I was well within tolerances for the whole run. The first time I did this run, the bear jumped on my back with three to go, and there was nothing I could do about it. Today, I think I may have outrun the sonofabitch!

Recovery to 130HR in 1:03, to 120HR in 1:40, and to 110 in 4:30. Standing around before the run was 55HR.

During the first ten I consumed a quarter liter of water, and during mile eleven I took in about 200ml of my carbohydrate drink, which is roughly 175 Calories of carbs. Following the run I did my typical recovery drink, then a 15 minute cold bath, and I have been sitting around ever since. The legs felt *great* after the run, and still feel very good right now. No stiffness, soreness, or any problems to speak of. I also should mention that I did today's run in my racing flats, and everything felt good. No blisters, even in wet shoes, and no calf issues of any kind. I am very confident the flats will not give me any problems come race day.

I'd like to think of this run as a confidence builder, but the German half of my mind is thinking that yesterday's eight miles with six a 5:45 pace was a bit easier than day one of the other back-to-back, and today's 6:30 early pace was 10-15 seconds slower than the other workout when I crashed with three to go. I find myself trying to be as realistic as possible in thinking these things out, and while today I think was very good, it may not be directly comparable, and may not be a run to draw any conclusions from. It was just what it was--a solid workout.

Have a good weekend!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Friday, May 04, 2007

47:51 :: 8 miles

MP run. Wind was blowing like mad--20+mph and gusting--and it was raining off and on. Tried a couple of different loops, but couldn't avoid or minimize the wind. Two mile warmup in 13:29, then six miles at 5:45 pace (as I could manage).

5:46(147) | 5:47(153) | 5:43(154) | 5:39(156) | 5:46(158) | 5:41(159)

Recovered to 120HR in :50 and to 110HR in 1:01. Standing around HR prior to run was steady at 47--lowest recorded this cycle.

Couldn't settle into a pace today, probably due to conditions. Also noticed that the pace felt 'fast' from a mechanical perspective. I wasn't comfortable at pace like I was during some other pace workouts or during the half. The HR was better than normal, but the 'ease' just wasn't there. I wore my racing flats today, which gives me a bit different feel than the trainers--that could be something. My guess would be because I haven't done strides or 1000s since the race, my perspective is skewed and 5:45 feels fast again.

Also very possibly could have been an off day. I haven't had one for a while, and two easy runs in a row are a known cause of that feeling. Today's workout should eliminate that feeling (at least for the first half) from tomorrow's run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, May 03, 2007

1:05:34 :: 10 miles

Easy run. Had a few miles drift into the low 6:20 range, then settled down into the 6:30s. Heart rate averaged 134, so still quite easy effort. Legs felt good, wind was howling, which made part of the run not so fun. Otherwise no complaints.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

1:16:00 :: 10 miles

Recovery run on the treadmill. Felt very good, comfortable. A bit bored for the first couple of miles, but that's mill running. No HR data today, as my wife was using the monitor for her workout. Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

1:11:45 :: 12 miles

Workout was 3-5 x 2 mile reps in 11:05-11:15 with one mile recoveries in 6:15. About 45F, with a nasty 20+ mph gusting NNW wind. Standing around heart rate was 51-52, so recovery looked good after a couple of easy days. I ended up doing a two mile warmup (13:13), three reps, three recoveries, and a one mile cooldown (6:34).

11:06(5:33-157|5:33-160::6:13-152) |
11:07(5:35-158|5:32-162::6:13-153) |

Mystery Coach made it very, very, very clear (inside joke) that my fitness is nearly maxed out, and that overdoing workouts now will do nothing but detract from race day. There is little to do now but maintain and taper effectively. After the second rep, I felt that three would be about all I could handle, but the third rep came and went, feeing the best of the three, and I had to make a decision. I'm sure I could have done four feeling just fine, but I thought back to Saturday's long run, and realized that you don't always realize how a workout fully affects you until the next day. On Saturday, I finished feeling like I could have gone another 4-5 miles, but by the next morning, I was tired and needed to run 7:15-7:30 pace to stay comfortable.

So today, even though from a physiological standpoint I was feeling good for another rep, physically my hips and legs were feeling a little bit 'loose' and beginning to get the first tingles of soreness. The last recovery mile passed, and with it the opportunity to start rep four. It was a decision I could live with regardless of the outcome of the upcoming race, so I was happy making it. Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury