Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A First


I took the red eye from LA on Friday night. The lady behind me had a really awful sounding cough. I prayed I would not catch a virus.

Sunday morning I went to see the trials. It was definitely the highlight of the trip. I could not believe how exciting it was; I got to see the runners eight times and was very impressed with the gutsiness of Lewy Boulet, but knew that Kastor would eventually catch her.

The "Race":

There was something about this day I just could not shake. I just did not feel like running a marathon, much less racing one. I actually hoped to miss the buses. Ah, but it was meant for me to start it... The ride took a LOT longer than I expected; it took just under two hours. Runners were exiting the buses to release fluids et Al. We finally arrived at the athlete's village and it was already 9:30. I grabbed a water bottle and headed to the baggage buses. It was still a bit nippy on my way to the start. I am carrying three gels with me and I am wearing a skull cap, arm warmers and gloves. Just before the start I need to pee for a second time in a half-hour span. I don't feel the usual excitement that I feel before a marathon. It was kind of cool to see the fly over by F18s??? but it was still cloudy. Then the clouds broke and it felt a bit warmer than I'd like for a good marathon. I decided I would still try to hit my A goal. Foolish.

First mile passes by in a not-too-bad 7:31. I am okay with it. Several runners are leaving me behind. Mile two in 7:17. That's what I am talking about, bank some seconds for the eventual slow down in the Newton hills. Mile three in 7:28. Hmmm was hoping to see sub 7:20s. The effort feels a bit easier than MP but I am not concerned. The desire to press the pace is just NOT there. I cross the mile five marker in 37:40, and I KNOW that I cannot sustain this pace for the entire race, so I go to goal B (sub 7:41). Mile six in 7:31. Great some seconds in the bank. I know I am slowing down but when I see a 7:52 for mile seven my inner demons come out strong. A 7:42 eight mile brings me back closer to B-MP. My body is fine. My legs while a bit shaky at the start have settled down. Mile nine, 7:52. Damn. Mile 10, 7:47 (1:16:26 - 7:36 pace).

I know in the current mental state I am, I cannot fulfill goal B, so I contemplate thoughts of dropping out. Yes, this would be my first DNF. I go into easy pace mode. I start high-fiving every single kid I see to my right. The outside of my left foot is beginning to ache. Could it be the onset of PF? Not surprisingly mile 11 reads 8:14. The pace feels more like a jog. I go though the Wellesley tunnel of screams and I give high fives to as many women as possible. I am having fun. The pain in my foot disappeared for this stretch. As soon as I exit it, it comes back. Damn.

It looks like this will be the day. I will DNF. My first. Hopefully my only one.

Mile 12, 7:59. Can I run this pace for the rest of the race? The pace does not seem like a total melt down. Mile 13, 8:13. No. I call it quits soon after the half-way point (1:41:42). No need to battle my demons for another 13 miles. They won today. By a big margin. There will be another race to exorcise them; and I will, you can count on it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Beantown Prediction

It’s funny- after running 37 marathons- I can safely say that I respect the distance. What's more important, the experience I have gained allows me to set realistic goals; this is directly proportional to the quality of the training cycle. Having ran B*ston four times also gives me added edge in prognosticating a finishing time.

For the 16 weeks before the race this has been my weekly mileage, with only one longish run: 42, 45, 31, 31, 42, 37, 29, 22, 36, 30, 9, 53, 47, 47, 45*, 30* (*projected). You may remember that my original goal was to break 3:10, but that was assuming a 60 mpw training cycle. As seen from the weekly mileage it would be asinine to even dream of it. However, I think I can sneak in a sub 3:16.

What really makes this prediction interesting is a run I did on April 1; I had planned on running easy for five miles and coming back at goal MP for a total of 10. I was feeling good. There was a slight head wind I and I was getting tired too easily and at the turn around point I knew I could not run ~7:25s for five so I backed off to only three. I was able to only run two and I called it quits. I finished that run with three easy miles and felt totally demoralized. The effort was there, but the springiness in my stride was nonexistent.

Two days later, my schedule called for a tempo run. The previous week I ran eight miles with three miles sandwiched at 6:50 pace. I figured ~7mpm for four miles was doable. So I head out and immediately my legs sprung to life. I hit the 2.5 miles w/u in 19:20 (7:44 pace). Right here and then I knew the tempo would be completed satisfactorily. And I wasn’t wrong. The splits were as follow: 6:42, 6:53, 6:45 and 6:38!... The best part was the c/d where my legs really felt fresh and strong. I ran the 2.5 miles c/d in 18:31, or roughly 7:24!!!

What did I do differently? I had a deep tissue massage the previous night. I believe the massage loosen up the tight tendons, thereby allowing the working muscles to do their job.

The revised A goal, as noted above, is sub 3:16 (incidentally, I I hit this time, it will be a course PR). The B goal is sub 3:21. There. I said it. The C goal is just to finish with a smile in my face :-)

Happy running.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


of the several reasons I LOVE the Rome Marathon... having your picture taken in front of historical monuments... while running :-)

I am surprised photo5 was able to assign this photo as my bib number is not visible.

Here's where I started struggling.

I just LOVE this one taken with a fish-eye lens.