Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 8 - 14 Training

Mon: Did not run (DNR); Marathon recovery. Legs are a little sore and tight, but not nearly as bad as I felt after previous marathons.

Tue: DNR

Wed: DNR

Thu: 4 miles very easy (7:44). Legs still a little sore and tight, but other than that I felt good.

Fri: 7 miles easy (7:10). Still on recovery. Felt good and smooth. 

Sat: 6.6 miles easy (7:11). Happy with how the legs felt.  

Sun: 10.1 miles easy (6:50)

Weekly Total: 27.7 miles on 4 runs/4 days
I'll use the next few weeks to recover and then transition to some moderate workouts and start getting ready for Boston.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

California International Marathon (CIM)

I was really looking forward to CIM. I had an excellent build up, trained hard and was eager to redeem myself after a couple sub-par marathons earlier this year. My 1:13 Philly half-marathon in September followed by five solid weeks of moderate altitude training in El Paso indicated I was fit and ready to run close to or faster than my personal best. My main goal entering this race was to run 2:35 or better, which I haven't done in over 3 years. However, in the back of my mind, I truly wanted to run a new marathon personal best. CIM was the right marathon to take a shot at a new marathon PR because of its fast course (but not easy) and the depth of runners in the 2:30s. 

I woke up at 4am and went downstairs to the hotel dining area for breakfast. I had my usual pre-race meal: a bagel with peanut butter and jelly, yogurt, banana, Herbalife24 Formula 1 Sport shake and a cup of coffee. An hour later I hopped on the runners' shuttle bus to Folsom. When we got to Folsom I remained on the bus to stay warm and hydrated with Herbalife24 Prolong. About 30 minutes before the start I went for a mile jog, did some strides and then headed to the start line. At the start I lined up about five rows back so I wouldn't take off like I was running a 5K. 

When the race started I slowly settled into what felt like marathon pace/effort, around 5:50-5:55 pace. About a mile into the race, I found myself running alongside a pack of about 8-10 girls.  I'm sure the girls were all aiming for the US Olympic Marathon Trials A (2:37) or B (2:43) Standard. I asked the guy leading the pack what pace he was running, and he responded with 2:37 and that he was running the entire marathon. I was actually surprised because we had split Mile 1 at 5:52, which in my mind was a little too fast for a 2:37 marathon. The pacer might have realized it because I didn't see him or the pack of girls shortly after. (I later read that a total of 20 US women and 10 men qualified for the 2016 Olympics Marathon Trials.)

I clicked off mostly 5:52's for the first 6 miles (5:52, 5:53, 5:49, 5:52, 5:49, and 5:52) feeling comfortable and smooth.  At 4 miles I was 10 meters behind a pack of about 12 runners which was being led by Michael Wardian.  Mike had competed in the North Face Endurance 50-miler in San Francisco the day before. I'm not sure if he even had time to clean up after the 50-miler.  The guy's a Beast!  I thought about putting in a surge to catch up to the pack, but decided not to since I was more focused on running my own race.  It was the right decision because within a few miles after the 10K mark, which I crossed in 36:31, the pack began to string out and I eventually overtook most of the runners with the exception of Mike and a couple other guys. I took my first gel at 5.5 miles.

I hit the half-marathon mark in 1:16:41 still feeling great.  The hills in the first half were noticeable, but not steep or long enough to break up my rhythm. The hill I remember most was the semi steep hill on Sunrise Blvd around 10.5 miles.  The steep hill is part of the San Juan Hills which rolls from miles 10.5 to 13.  Approaching Sunrise Blvd we ran ran downhill and then climbed a hill that was about a 1/4 mile long.  I think my strong hill running ability showed here because I ran splits of 5:47, 5:48 and 5:51 on the San Juan Hills (11-13 miles).  I was well prepared for the hills and the rolling course because 1) my coach (Scott) put together a solid training schedule that incorporated some intense training on rolling terrain, and 2) I trained on hills that were steeper in grade and longer than the CIM hills.  I took my second gel at the 13 mile mark. Splits for Miles 7-13 were: 5:52, 5:56, 5:54, 5:47, 5:47, 5:48, and 5:51.  

Miles 14-20 were uneventful.  I continued to throw down splits between 5:47-5:53 (5:53, 5:53, 5:48, 5:52, 5:51, 5:43, and 5:50).  During this stretch of the race I took in a gel at miles 16.5 and 19.4.  At Mile 20 (1:56:57 - 5:51 pace), I was still feeling good, but was a little worried I'd suddenly encounter a cramp in my legs.  In my last two marathons (2014 Boston Marathon and All-American Marathon), I cramped badly between 18-20 miles and suffered through the last 10K of those races.  I didn't want to experience the suffering again.  

Around Mile 21, I passed the women's pre-race favorite and 2:27 marathoner, Renee Metivier Baillie.  I was surprised and felt bad to see Renee, because she was hoping to take down the 2:29 course record and was obviously not having a good day.  Shortly after passing Renee I had a little scare.  I felt a minor twinge on my left hamstring, almost as if a cramp was about to happen.  To fight off the developing cramp, I took in my last gel (carried 5 with me) and some Nuun, an electrolyte drink offered on the course.    The gel and electrolytes must have helped because I didn't break a stride and ran splits of 5:48 and 5:49 for Miles 21 and 22.  On the 23rd mile, I felt another twinge on the same spot.  Luckily, there was an aid station at 23.5 miles that offered GU.  I took a GU and drank two cups of Nuun at the aid station.  The fuel must have worked again because I ran 5:43 and 5:48 for Miles 23 and 24.  I don't know what flavor of GU it was, but it didn't taste all that good and I really didn't care.  I just didn't want to cramp this late in the race when I was on pace to run a PR.
With only a couple more miles to go, I kept telling myself to relax and stay focus.  Around Mile 25, I caught up to Mike Wardian and briefly chatted with him.  For some reason, seeing and catching up to Mike gave me a boost of confidence.  I told Mike that I was having a good race and was on pace to run a PR.  He told me to Go Get It!  Mike finished in an impressive 2:33 following a 50-miler. Impressive!  Mile 25 was a 5:48. In the last mile, I pretty much gave it my all.  With about a half mile to the finish, I passed the 3rd place female, Kristen Zaitz, and was closing in on the 2nd place female, Jane Kibii.  Unfortunately, I ran out of real estate and could not overtake Jane.  My Mile 26 split (5:33) was the fastest split of the race.  

The CIM Finish can be heart-breaking to runners because you can't see the finish line from 8th St.  It's not until runners make the turn onto Capitol Mall that they'll see the finish about 50 meters ahead.  When I turned onto Capitol Mall I saw the clock read 2:32:xx.  I was so happy I started celebrating by throwing fist pumps in the air as I approached the finish.  I crossed the finish with an official time of 2:32:29, a personal best by 1:21.  

CIM Finish.

As my coach said, I ran this race like a pro.  I've ran negative splits for the marathon a few times, but I've never ran almost a minute faster for the 2nd half.  I ran the 1st and 2nd halves of the race in 1:16:41 and 1:15:48, a 53 second negative split.  I also ran the last 10K of the race in 35:32 (5:44 pace), which is the fastest 10K split in all of my marathons.  Below are my official splits and GPS splits:

Mile  Split
1       5:52
2       5:53
3       5:49
4       5:52
5       5:49
6       5:52
7       5:52
8       5:56
9       5:54
10     5:47
11     5:47
12     5:48
13     5:51
14     5:53
15     5:53
16     5:48
17     5:52
18     5:51
19     5:43
20     5:50
21     5:49
22     5:50
23     5:47
24     5:43
25     5:48
26     5:33

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December 1 - 7 Training

Mon: 6.2 miles easy (7:18)

Tue: 8.2 miles with 2x2 miles at MP (5:50-5:55). Felt good and comfortable. First 2M was in 11:38 (5:48, 5:50) and the 2nd in 11:39 (5:49, 5:50).  The legs felt like it wanted to go faster but I tried to stay within range. 

Wed: 6.2 miles easy (7:29) I ran sort of a hilly route so I would run very easy. 

Thu: 7.2 miles with 2x1/2 mile at half-marathon effort with 1/2 mile easy. Leg turnover felt good.  I didn't worry about splits but it was nice to know that I ran 5:30 pace, which is what the effort felt like.  

Fri: 3 miles very easy (7:38)

Sat: 4 miles easy with 2x30s pick-ups (7:30)

Sun: 27.2 miles with California International Marathon (CIM) in 2:32:29, 64th Overall & 6th AG. It was a new Personal Best by 1:21 and new Guam National Record for the Marathon. As my coach said, I ran this race like a Pro.  My half splits were 1:16:41 & 1:15:48, the last 10K in 35:32 (5:43 pace), and the last mile in 5:33.  

Weekly Total: 62 miles in 7 days/7 runs
CIM was by far my best executed race.  I was patient, ran comfortable early and then dropped the pace in the later part of the race.  Race report to follow.  

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

November 17 - 30 Training

November 17 - 23

Mom: AM – 6 miles easy (7:34)

Tue: 8.2 miles eas with 6x30s pick-ups

Wed: AM – 9.5 miles with 14x60s on/off.  Weather was crap – cold (39 deg) and rainy.  Ran the fartlek on rolling terrain with the on portion at 10K effort and the off portion moderate.  Averaged 5:20 and 6:30 for the on/off portions.  PM – Skipped run. Traveled through a winter storm for the Thanksgiving weekend.  

Thu: 6.4 miles easy (7:06). Lots of snow in Lexington MA, but as expected the roads were cleared.  

Fri: 12 miles with 5 miles moderate at 6:35-6:30 followed by 5 miles at MP 5:50-5:55. The 5 miles moderate (32:30 – 6:30 pace) felt comfortable. The next 5 miles at MP felt controlled, but not as smooth as I’d hoped for.  Splits for the MP portion were 5:47, 5:48, 5:54, 5:49, 5:50 (34:08 – 5:50 pace). 

Sat: 8 miles easy (7:12)

Sun: 15 miles long run (6:54). Ran out (52:30) and back (50:48) on the Minuteman Trail.  Pretty amazing that the trail was cleared of snow.  There were some slick spots from black ice but nothing to worry about.  

Weekly Total: 65.1 miles on 7 runs/7 days
One week down one more to go.  Legs are starting to freshen up from the decrease in volume.  


November 23 - 30

Mon: AM – 8.3 miles with 4x30s pick-ups (7:00);  PM – 4.2 miles easy (7:05)

Tue: AM – 11.5 miles with 4 mile Tempo (22:34 – 5:38 pace) and 4x400m uphill sprints.  Plan was to run the 4M tempo at 5:35 pace and the 400m uphill sprints at about mile effort.  It was so cold (12deg RealFeel) I considered running the tempo on the treadmill.  However, I manned up and ran the tempo on the track.  The tempo was tougher than I thought it should have felt.  The 1st mile (5:36) was okay, but I didn’t feel smooth.  The next couple miles (5:43, 5:41) were a struggle.  I actually thought about cutting the workout short because I wasn’t hitting my splits.  I toughed out the last mile and ran a 5:33.  The 400m uphill sprints were just brutal.  I thought that I'd feel the wobbly legs on the last 2 reps, but experienced it in all of them.  400m uphill splits were 1:28, 1:34, 1:30, and 1:38.   PM - 4.2 miles easy (7:05)

Wed: AM - 10 miles easy (6:58); PM - 4.3 miles easy (7:11)

Thu: AM - 6.5 miles easy (7:29); PM - 4 miles easy (7:20)

Fri: AM - 16.2 miles with 2x6 miles at 5:50-5:55 pace. First 6-mile segment felt tougher than the 2nd segment.  Splits were: 35:20 (5:55, 5:52, 5:54, 5:52, 5:53, 5:54) – 5:53 avg pace, and 34:57 (5:50, 5:51, 5:48, 5:49, 5:51, 5:49) – 5:50 avg pace.  PM – 3.5 miles easy (7:23)

Sat: AM – 6.5 miles easy (7:13); PM – 4 miles easy (7:28)

Sun: 20 miles long run (6:48). Ran comfortably to get in the distance.  The first 13 miles were on rolling and the last 7 fairly flat.  Felt like I was jogging in the late miles.  

Weekly Total: 103.2 miles on 13 runs/7 days.  
It was my last tough week of training for CIM.  It was also the first week of 100+ miles during this training cycle.  I think the last time I logged 100+ miles in one week was about a year ago. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 10-16 Training

Mon: AM – 8.5 miles easy with 6x30s pick-ups (6:53); PM – 4.2 miles easy (7:19)

Tue: AM – 12.4 miles with 10M moderate progression run (62:20 – 6:14 pace). Goal was to start at 6:30 and progress down to 6:10 pace. Felt comfortable and controlled. Splits were 6:24, 6:25, 6:21, 6:14, 6:14, 6:11, 6:10, 6:07, 6:09, and 6:09. PM – 4 miles easy (7:29)

Wed: AM – 7 miles easy (7:26); PM – 4.8 miles easy (7:07)

Thu: AM – 8.6 miles with 8x200m w/ 200m rec. Felt good despite the freezing temps (real-feel of 32 deg). Goal was to hit the 200s in 32-33s. Splits were 32, 31, 32, 32, 32, 32, 32, and 32. PM – 4.6 miles easy (7:42)

Fri: AM – 5 miles easy (7:39); PM – 4.2 miles easy (7:23)

Sat: AM – 16.1 miles long run with 10x1/2 mile steady, 1/2 mile hard on rolling terrain. Really tough (physically and mentally) workout. Ran a 4mile warm-up and then 10 miles alternating a 1/2 mile at a steady pace with a 1/2 mile hard. The intent of the workout was to simulate the changing of pace for a rolling course like CIM. What made this workout tough is the steady pace running after running hard for a half mile….a hilly course also made the workout more challenging. I had to keep reminding myself not to slack on the steady portions, which is easy and normal to do when running fartleks or intervals. My average pace for the steady and hard portion of the workout were 6:19 and 5:37 pace, respectively. Splits were 3:06/2:52, 3:13/2:51, 3:12/2:48, 3:14/2:50, 3:18/2:54, 3:06/2:43, 3:05/2:50, 3:08/2:49, 3:07/2:46, and 3:08/2:40. PM – 4.6 miles easy (7:09)

Sun: 8.5 miles easy (7:05)

Weekly Total: 92.3 miles on 13 runs/7 days
Another great week of training.  This was the 11th week of 90+ miles during this marathon training cycle.  I have one more hard week of training and then I'll start tapering/peaking for CIM.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November 3-9 Training

Mon: AM – 10 miles with 12x1:00 on/off fartlek. Leg turnover felt good. Ran about 5:08-5:15 pace on the flats/downhills and around 5:30ish on the hills. PM – 4.25 miles easy (7:20)

Tue:  AM – 10.1 miles easy (7:03); PM – 4.3 miles easy (7:21)

Wed:  AM – 5 miles easy (7:19). Last run in El Paso, TX.  PM – Skipped Run. After traveling all day and not seeing my family for the last 5 weeks, I decided to skip the run and spend time with the family.  

Thu: AM – 13.6 miles with 3M tempo (16:41), 2.5M tempo (13:39), and 2M tempo (10:55) w/ 3:00 rec in between. Weather was crap – cold and rainy. The goal was to run the tempos at 5:35, sub-5:30, and 5:20 respectively. The 3M tempo felt good and manageable. Splits were 5:33, 5:36, 5:32.  The 2.5M tempo (5:28, 5:27, 2:44) was comfortably hard. Running 5-7 seconds faster per mile took a little more effort.  For the last 2M tempo (5:21, 5:34), I knew running 80sec laps weren’t going to be easy.  After I hit the 1st mile in 5:21, every lap got slower and slower by 1-3 seconds.  I was done at lap 2 of the 2nd mile, so I just tried to hang on to finish the workout. My legs were numb and head freezing (should have left the my beanie on) halfway through the last tempo.  PM – 4.4 miles easy (7:16)

Fri:  AM – 6.5 miles easy (7:28); PM – 5 miles easy (7:13)

Sat: AM – 21 miles long run with the first 15 miles easy on rolling hills and the next 5 miles alternating 1/2 miles at faster than MP effort with 1/2 easy and a mile cool-down.  Long run went pretty well. First 15 miles were in 1:43:02 (6:52) and the 5 x 1/2 miles in 2:53, 2:52, 2:53, 2:50, and 2:48.  Didn’t take in any fuel or carbs, just water at around 17.5 miles. 

Sun: AM – 5 miles easy (7:23); PM – 4.1 miles easy (7:38)

Weekly Total: 93.2 miles on 12 runs/7 days
Good week of training. I'm glad that I struggled towards the end of Thursday's workout, because it made me feel like I'm working/training hard.  As my coach said, I can't knock out every workout out of the park.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

October 27 - November 02 Training

Mon: AM - 8.3 miles with 6x30sec pick-ups (7:09); PM - 4.2 miles easy (7:32)

Tue: AM - 10 miles progression run (6:30). Started out at normal easy pace then worked my way down to 6:00ish pace around 7 miles and then hung there for the last few miles. Splits: 7:28, 7:03, 6:51, 6:48, 6:35, 6:16, 6:09, 5:59, 5:56, 5:55.  .4 miles easy cool-down;  PM -  5.3 miles easy (7:18). Ran at 4300+ ft in Alamogordo, NM where I'll be for the next 5 days.  

Wed: AM - 8 miles easy (7:18); PM - 4 miles easy (7:28)

Thu: 8.7 miles with 10x200m (.12M) w/ 200m rec. Averaged about 34-35 for the 200s.  Didn't worry too much about hitting the times but rather focused more on running fast but controlled.  PM - 4.2 miles easy (7:27)

Fri: 9 miles easy (7:17)

Sat: 18.1 miles long run including 5x2 miles with 3:00 rec jog. Plan was to start around 6:10 pace and then progress a little faster on the last 2-3 reps if I was feeling good.  Splits were: 12:10 (6:04, 6:06), 12:08 (6:03, 6:05), 12:05 (6:04, 6:01), 12:01 (6:01, 6:00), 11:54 (5:58, 5:56).   Happy with the workout considering it was at 4300 ft elevation. 

Sun: AM - 5.5 miles easy (7:22). Last run in Alamogordo, NM; PM 4.4 miles easy (7:17)

Weekly Total: 90.2 miles on 12 runs/7 days
Good week of higher volume intensity.  This was the 5th and final week at moderate altitude training.  I averaged just under 93 miles/week while in El Paso & Alamogordo, NM.  Pretty darn good because I was worried at first that I won't be able to train as much while away for work.  

Sacramento Mountains in Alamogordo, NM.