Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 2,867: Drydock + marathon prediction

Like the two previous marathons I've run, it's taken me several days to get back to some semblance of running form. Today is the fourth day since the Marine Corps Marathon and it's the first day that I've felt like I had my leg speed back.

I'm actually going to continue taking it easy until I feel like I can run normally. Probably only a few more days at the most.

Today there was an interesting post in Slate that I want to make sure I keep here. It's an updated marathon pace calculator. At its most basic it looks at your half marathon time multiplied by 2.19. Another pace calculator uses 2.085 as a multiplier to calculate your marathon time and the same multiple to predict 10K performance using a 5K race time.

The longer format asks you how many miles you've been running a week and your race time from two races (or one if you've only done one). It also asks you the race day conditions, such as a hilly course or if it was hot outside.

So I typed in 55 miles a week to be conservative. I used my race time from this March's Publix Georgia Half Marathon. I ran it in 1:52:16. I selected hilly conditions.

And what did it predict?

It predicted a time less than two minutes off what I actually ran. Something to think about.

Update: If you just use the 2.19 multiplier to my 2014 half marathon time, you get a race time that looks like 4:04:48 -- a time that's pretty close to my 2010 Chicago Marathon time of 4:06:39.

I know it's just a formula but to me the new pace calculator also shows the impact of the extra miles I logged in my attempt to break the four hour mark.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 2,863: Marine Corps Marathon (PR)

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Same old cat.

Almost like a throwback to when I first started running in races, I ran in today's Marine Corps Marathon super-aggressively and nearly bonked out of the entire race. Yet I still made my goal of finishing in under four hours, setting my best race times in the marathon as well as the 30K and 20K distances.

It almost embarrasses me that after training to a metronome pace of 8:45/mile for 18 weeks that I would throw caution to the wind and run mile splits as low as 8:01 and 8:06 but the best I can say is that the faster pace felt natural to me and in the middle of the race I felt like if I could take a stab at a really good marathon finishing time then I should do it.

Ironically, today's race conditions mirrored the hot Indian summer conditions of four years ago when I came close to breaking four hours in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon but finished in 4:06:39.

In that race, I was holding my own but was forced to slow down after my calf muscles started to cramp up at Mile 20. In today's race, something similar happened in the warmer weather -- my calf muscles started to cramp up at Mile 19.

What was different was that I had run so aggressively in the middle of the race that even when I was forced to slow down I knew that I could run the last 7 miles of the race at a very slow 11 minute mile pace -- I didn't even run that slow in the Chicago Marathon -- and still break four hours.

I think the difference was the training. I ran 888.71 miles in 18 weeks under a training program that is nothing short of elite. I ran about 70 miles more for each minute that I ran over four hours in the Chicago Marathon.

I also did things that I wouldn't have done four years ago. In this race, I really embraced fueling and hydration. I ate pasta for three days going into the race (believe me I was sick of it by the third day) and wore a 70-ounce Camelbak hydration pack in the race and ate a GU gel every two miles on the course.

It's pretty surreal now that it's over that I did it. I do know that I don't want to run in a warm marathon, at least for right now, let alone another marathon so soon after this one. So I am thinking I will skip the Honolulu Marathon that I already signed up for -- the race that started a fitness kick that lasted an entire year.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 59 degrees (increased to 70 during the race)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Georgia Marathon, white), shorts, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 2,862: New yearly mileage record

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The most mileage I'd ever done in a calendar year was 1,776.55 miles in 2010, when I ran in two marathons and a slew of other races.

Today, during a 3-mile shakedown run in historic Alexandria Old Town, I passed that mark. There are 61 days left in the year, not to mention the 26.2-mile run scheduled for tomorrow morning.

With any luck, I will complete by year's end something I've never done before -- run 2,000 miles in a calendar year. If I finish tomorrow's Marine Corps Marathon, that will put me over 1,800 miles for the year. One hundred miles a month for two months doesn't seem so bad, does it?

But first things first. It's time to #runwiththemarines.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 2,861: The Marine Corps Marathon expo

WASHINGTON -- I feel like I've been training for an entire year and it's really surreal that race day is almost here.

Today I drove up from the Richmond area and luckily was able to check into my hotel early. So that gave me plenty of time to get to and through the expo. Seven hours is enough time, right?

The expo gave me pause because I've experienced two expos in Washington, both for the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler. Those expos involved round-the-block lines to get in and although those lines were relatively quick moving, I wasn't sure what to expect for this race. I remember some online reviews talking about how slow previous expos were and how much walking you had to do.

I'd originally planned on getting into town on Friday (today) and then going to the expo the next day. But it actually was better for me to go during the middle of a weekday. There really weren't any lines and I quickly made my way through, getting my race bib and then later, my T-shirt.

The bib came with a race program, patch and a Chipotle buy one, get-one coupon. Everything was pretty efficient. I wandered through the expo and stopped to get a marathon shirt from Brooks (I think they have made some of my favorite race gear).

And then I was out and made my way back to the Metro. I thought about running back (had a 6-mile run on schedule today) but just decided to drop everything off at the hotel and change into running gear.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 2,860: A chilly run in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Week 18, the very last week of marathon training, is supposed to be easy-peasy. Still, there are a few six-mile runs thrown in and running sometimes is difficult when you're in another city.

So I ventured out this morning in what has to be some of the coolest weather I've been in recent weeks. I wandered around downtown to get some geocaches but my hands started to get cold and I was on a time schedule since we wanted to leave the city right after rush hour.

I only ended up doing a little more than two miles of the six that was on the schedule but I rightfully decided that with three days left until the Marine Corps Marathon, it was good enough.

Time: 7:43 a.m.
Temp: 41 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Atlanta Marathon promo), Short-sleeve T-shirt, shorts, Salomon Sense Mantra.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 2,848: Another weekly mileage record

Today's 10-mile run gave me 61.32 miles for the week, edging by just under a mile the 60.41 miles I did for the week of Sept. 7-13 this year.

I think this mileage record will stand for a while since my marathon training is coming to a close. I've put up three 60+ mile weeks during the course of the training and it's been pretty amazing to have put up miles that last year would have seemed crazy to me to do so.

I'm glad though that the weekly mileage is dropping off. It's not easy to fit in multiple 10+ mile runs during a week.

Hopefully it all will be enough for marathon day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 2,845: SCT -- Along the county lines

ROCKMART, Ga. --  I'd let some new caches build up along the Silver Comet Trail so I decided to go on my "off'" day for my marathon training schedule -- I still run one mile to keep the streak alive.

I haven't ever been in this area before. It's certainly one of the most beautiful places on the SCT and even the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama (I've done sections all the way down to Jacksonville, Ala.).

In the middle of the afternoon I had to decide where I would run my mile. So I put down my bike not to far away from where this picture was taken and ran back and forth in between the Polk and Paulding county lines until I did the mile.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 2,843: It pays to be curious

I was going through my news feeds on Facebook when I saw a post of the race-related wear for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

I'm not running in it this year of course, but I clicked on and looked at what they had to offer. In years past I've drooled over the cool race shirts related to my hometown and decided some window shopping was in order.

It turned out that they also sold Nike shoes, too -- and at a pretty nice discount. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31s that I likely will be wearing in the Oct. 26 Marine Corps Marathon were discounted to $79.97 from $100.

That got me thinking. I just earned 1,750 points on -- enough to cash it in for a $25 Nike e-gift card. So I quickly did that and submitted my order.

The total was $61.37 (including $6.40 tax) and it comes with free shipping, making these shoes available at about a 46 percent discount! That makes these shoes among the cheapest that I've purchased for current season running shoes.

I'm not completely sure I will run in the Dec. 14 Honolulu Marathon but if I do, I will probably need some new kicks sometime soon.

In recent weeks I've been shopping around for some new shoes, since my current pair of 31s have 320 miles on them and my other trainers, such as the Saucony Kinvara 5 and the Skechers Go Run 2, have 272 and 206 miles on them respectively.

And through the Oct. 26 marathon, I am projected to run 177.45 more miles!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 2,842: 16-mile run

Today was the last of three 16-milers for my training for the Marine Corps Marathon. After having a bad tempo workout just three days prior, I wasn't sure how this one would be.

And so I procrastinated but when I finally got out the door it was a lovely 40 degrees (my Garmin data says 46 degrees).

Even though it was cool out I decided to wear the Camelbak pack and then also go with a GU gel pack every two miles, similar to what I did two weeks ago.

This time, however, I wanted to let myself ease into the 9:30/mile pace that was prescribed for this workout.

While I didn't hit that pace until mile 5, the run was fabulous. I got faster throughout the run and it didn't seem like such a hassle to me. I drank about three sips every two miles after consuming a GU gel (compare that to 6 sips every two miles and even more in miles 14 and 15 two weeks ago at temperatures above 70 degrees).

My last two gels came a little bit late in the sequence, #6 at 12.6 miles and the last one after 14.8 miles.

When I got home I still felt like I had a lot of energy left. I checked the temperature and it had only gotten up to 57 degrees. If the temperature is like this on race day, I think I will definitely have a good outing.

Time: 8:55 a.m.
Temp: 46 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Nike Climafit), T-shirt (Race for Research), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 31.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Day 2,841: Finally, cooler weather

Today's run came with some much-needed relief. It was the first cool day of the season.

The last few years the weather has cooled down in mid-September. But this year I had to endure training runs that reached well into the 70s, meaning soaking wet clothes and at times, the dreaded bloody nipple.

I finally broke out the long-sleeved T-shirts. It was a nice way to end a 55-mile running week.

Time: 9:08 a.m.
Temp: 48 degrees
Gear: Long-sleeve T (Run the Reagan '11), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 2,839: A bad workout

Although the marathon training schedule has gone like clockwork every now and then there's a workout that doesn't really pan out.

I got a late start to my run, it was to be my first 10-mile tempo run (12 miles total). When I left the sun was out but it was still a fairly cool 66 degrees.

But later on, it got warmer. I felt like I needed water about halfway through the run on the Beltline. I drank a bunch when I got into Piedmont Commons but by the time I exited the bowl, I knew I was done for the day. Later I saw the temperature climbed to 75 degrees.

I'd only done 7 miles of the 10-mile workout. I had something similar happen to me on Sept. 16, when I was to do three 2-mile strength intervals with a half-mile recovery in between. I did two of them and was done for the day. 

Luckily in that case I was able to bounce back the rest of the week. 

To make matters worse in today's run I discovered as I was entering the shower a dreaded bloody nipple.

Time: 9:31 a.m.
Temp: 66 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (2014 Charles Harris 10K), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.