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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.

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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:

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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:

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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!

 

TU: What Have I Started?

Time for a quick update from the land of training. Otherwise known as painful pleasure at the moment.

Thanks to travel and cancellations, my last race for the season was this past weekend. Yes, I know I haven’t posted a report yet; it’s coming. Despite not being able to do two of my favorite races this year, the Polson and Whitefish Triathlons, I am okay with the short season as it is allowing me to transition into marathon training pretty much right on time.

For the past three weeks or so, I have bumped my mileage up to about 30 miles a week. It’s still pretty much a mixture of some tempo, some intervals, and long run, but I added a BUNCH of filler easy runs. Normally, I would call those junk miles, but I think my legs really have benefited from the durability the constant running has been producing. I’m also out running with the wife now, so I’m routinely getting in two runs daily.

Overall, my paces have seemed right on. I’m shooting for about a 3:30 marathon, which is nothing spectacular, but if I do it, that will be a roughly 50 minute PR!!! Today was the second long run of my plan, and despite the noodle legs from 4 miles and a 1:20 aerobic endurance ride yesterday, I was able to negative split and hover overall all at 8:47 pace. It took some concentration today, but I wouldn’t say I was dying by any means. My first long run, which was about two weeks ago, was ten miles right at 8:07, which is just above my anticipated marathon pace.

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The increase in volume and frequency hasn’t been kind to my cycling though. I am still prepping for two half centuries, the Huckleberry 100 and the Chain Reaction Hops Relay, in six weeks, and this has proved to be as difficult as figuring out how to change tubulars for the first time.  For the last two years, I pretty much have been training for the 40kk TT, and stretching my legs out for the long haul again while running more is like double dipping with liquor and wine: NEVER FINE. Earlier this week, I was barely able to crank out .86 IF. Yet, I am still trying my hardest, and despite each ride ending in something that sounds like a dying elephant, I got in four rides in this week. I might need to be honest with myself though and dial down the intensity next week.

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Swim is going well, but I need to hit the pool more. Only one swim this week. My swim at last weekend’s race came out well personally. Maybe it’s all the wetsuit. Maybe it’s my seemingly insane drafting skills. Either way, I’ll take it. I need some more formwork, and luckily, I know some crazy fast people to help me out soon. Time for a lesson.

Overall, despite the increased time and pain, its been a real pleasure to get out and let loose more. Since Arizona in 2011, I feel like I have been losing the endurance aspect of triathlon. It’s great to feel the pain, fatigue, and quiet lonesome of those long runs in the morning. The only downside is I need some new running shoes pronto. Im getting a repetitive blister on my left pinky toe and its starting to look something like Marilyn Manson in a hot tub (think white and soggy.) Time to cash in at Trisports. 

And speaking of last weekend…..

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