Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Calm

The beauty of freezing fog in the Northwest.

The beauty of freezing fog in the Northwest.

Finally,I am back in Seattle, with only 2 days to go until the marathon. Despite the building stir crazy, I find that this is one of the most rewarding times in racing. Training is all done. My mind and body are ready to rock and roll. All I have to focus on is  eating. As soon as I get done with the race, I am back to zero mentally and already looking toward the next goal. Right now, I am satisfied. It is not something I get to say often.

From the race standpoint, everything is looking ready to go. I got in a 15 minute stretch run yesterday and I had a hard time keeping my legs over race pace. No pain, no excessive sluggishness; everything just felt perfect. Today, I also checked off one of the most important victories when it comes to racing: I successfully picked up my race packet without spending a penny at the race expo. I’ll be honest, my entourage or four kids made it easy to skip the 50% Brooks clothes bin, but I’ll still pat myself on the back. Today, I got the mandatory shopping routine in with the wife and tomorrow I will be chilling in the hotel room all day with the kids. So, barring some epic disaster involving Godzilla, an eruption of Mt. Rainier, or a tsunami, I’ll be running a marathon on Sunday. Official goal is sub 3:45. Will see how things pan out. I am feeling optimistic.

HUZZAH!

HUZZAH!

Race day weather wise, the outlook is dreary. The title of this post is apt as an epic storm is about to roll into the Northwest. There is 90% chance of rain on race day, followed by plummeting temperatures. But I figure, if it sucks for me, it sucks for everyone. And hey, it wouldn’t be a Seattle marathon without rain right?

As for vacation, no matter what comes Sunday, this trip has been an epic win already. Somehow, likely due to some divine intervention, my family got out on the road on schedule Thanksgiving day. As I expected, there was hardly a single car on the road. On top of that, the little ones tolerated the five hour drive to Moses Lake with barely a cry and zero puke. To boot, the 13 month old went down without a single wail in the hotel room.

Even survived the sushi without puking....so far.

Even survived the sushi without puking….so far.

 

Today was even better as we safely navigated through the worst driving fog I have seen in a while. I’m not kidding; there were times I couldn’t see more than 20 feet ahead of me as we crossed through the Columbia River Gorge. We even saw two cars upside down on the road. After three hours we made it to Seattle, again sans puke. And to top the whole transition off, my mad hotel skills again triumphed by securing a dirt cheap, ginormous suite, with its own conference room. Currently, it is doubling as a nursery and a dining room. WIN.

This is how to have a family pre-race meeting!

This is how to have a family pre-race meeting!

Okay folks. Next posts should be my race report. I just want to say thanks for all the people who have helped me along the way as always, and all my virtual supporters out there. I’ll be thinking about all of you as I click the miles off on Sunday. Have a great weekend!

Let’s Make a List and Check It Twice

spaghetti+with+meat+sauce11

It’s been a worrisome two weeks since my last post, but it is time to call it like it is.

Last week, the running went pretty well. Again, I avoided the track at all costs and stuck to the treadmill for my interval days. Amazingly, pain was not a concern for me last week, even despite my good 15 miler on Sunday. I cranked out two speed days, one with intervals and the second a tempo just below marathon pace, without any pain or soreness. It was a far cry from how I was feeling a month ago.

Needless to say, I was feeling good as I headed into my anticipated run of 20 miles. As I got to work on Saturday morning, I was feeling decent. Unfortunately, due to the responsibilities of life, I had to cut things short at ten miles. Still, the numbers were decent  but slow as I thought I was running 20.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 10.17.54 PM

Only 10? No problem! Fortunately, there are two days in the weekend, and I figured why not try again the next day. Unfortunately, when I woke up the next morning, I was greeted with a nice slushy road. After recovering from my leg injury, I wasn’t about to risk wiping out on ice. So, instead of hitting the open road, I hit the what would be the running version of solitary confinement: the treadmill.

Starting out, things were a little stickier than I had hoped. But I figured it was more mental pain and kept clicking along. I dialed in at 1% incline and 7.2mph  and started out some Agent Shield Episodes. Unfortunately, not even superhero goodness (its an okay show I guess) could keep me from bonking at mile 11. There was no soreness or pain. I was just completely drained. I thought maybe it was the treadmill, so I laced up my shoes and braved the snow for a mile. Even with the fresh air, I wasn’t able to top 9:00 pace and I called it quits after 3 more miles.

Drained, dizzy, and six miles short was not how I hoped to feel the day of my last planned long run. I consoled myself that 24 miles in a weekend wasn’t a bad weekend so to speak, and I did the only thing I could: fueled and ran.

Start out this week, my legs felt okay at least. I was still a little tired on Monday, but I was able to put in a 3.5 mile recovery run on the treadmill at 9:12 pace. On Tuesday, intervals were on speed surprisingly, either due to rest, sleep, or a big honking pile of spaghetti I ate on Sunday. I took the day off on Wed and then Thursday, it was time for another tempo.

As I am getting close to game day, I decided to try out my warm up ritual before the tempo. I started with five minutes of brisk walking and then five minutes of jogging with some spin ups. Then I mentally lined up and off I went. Here is how that panned out:

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I purposely moved faster in the first mile as I know I have some hills to face in the first few miles of the marathon and I will need to keep my pace through those. Felt great, even without the adrenaline. And yes, I stopped running at split 6.

I took another day on Friday in anticipation of the long run on Saturday. I was feeling great as I got my things ready on Friday night. In preparation for a full race rehearsal, I picked out everything I would be wearing the day of the race. I also lined up my nutrition plan.

At this point, I would like to show a nice table with 20 plus splits. But unfortunately, thanks to another winter storm, all I can show is this:

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 10.48.00 PM

 

So what did such a weather forecast mean? Yep. Back to solitary confinement.

I started out again at 1% incline and 7.0 mph. After six miles, I began taking a sip of HEED every two miles. At mile 10, I was feeling decent still. Not wanting to repeat last week’s bonk, I took in a gel then and dialed it up to 7.2mph. Physically, things were feeling good as I headed into the second half of the run. Mentally, it was a freaking disaster. Not even the rest of the  Agents of Shield season could help keep my mind entertained. At about mile 18, I had to turned to my secret weapon: ROCKY IV.

Nothing like Rocky turning the tide after a pummeling to get the adrenaline running again. With some brief walks for food and typing into YouTube, overall pace came in at 8:35. At that rate, I would be finishing the marathon at about 3:45.

Two days after that milestone, I am feeling good. Today was a nice recovery jog and since I got new batteries in my PowerTap, I did some good spinning:

Screen Shot 2013-11-019

According to the marathon website, I am now only 12 days until showtime. While I have been in this period between training and race day many times before, it never gets old. I am giddy as ever, and I am starting to make my checklists for race day. Fortunately, there is a lot less stuff to forget with a marathon. And thank God I don’t have to bring my bike.

With the way things have shaped up, my goal time is now 3:45. This is 15 minutes slower than what I wanted it, but I have to be honest with myself. And at least, barring disaster….like getting hit by an ice cream truck or something, I will beat my PR of 4:20 something. That was a long time ago.

So it’s time for some good tapering, good eating, and then good running! Followed of course by lots of good vacationing. Stay tuned!

 

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