Monday, January 16, 2017

January 9 - 15 Training

Mon: AM - 10 miles easy with 6x20s pick-ups (6:53); it was freezing (10 deg) and my toes were already frozen about a mile into the run.  PM - 4.6 miles easy (7:14)

Tue: AM - 11.5 miles including fartlek of 10x3:00 on/1:30 off on rolling terrain. Started out at 5:30 flat effort and worked down to about a little faster than 10k effort.  Covered 7.5 miles for the 45min fartlek and averaged 5:25 / 7:34 pace for the on/off segments.  These fartlek on rolling terrain are tough workouts, but it's what will prepare me for the Boston course.  PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:29)

Wed: AM - 8 miles easy (7:56); it was very slippery/icy from rain freezing overnight.  I thought about turning back and running on the treadmill about a mile into the run, but that never happened.  I would have been better off wearing ice skates on this run.  PM - 4 miles easy (7:01)

Thu: AM - 9.4 miles including 16x200m at 32-33 with 200m slow jog; hit all of the 200s in 32 seconds except for the 2nd rep (33).  PM - 6 miles easy (7:19)

Fri: AM - 6.2 miles easy (7:38); PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:39)

Sat: 20 miles long run (6:25); first 4 miles easy, 12 miles steady working from 6:20 to 6:00, last 4 miles easy.  Felt pretty good and smooth on the steady running.  Averaged 6:07 pace for the 12 miles.  

Sun: AM - 7 miles easy (7:27); 5.2 miles easy (7:32)

Weekly Total: 102.4 miles on 13 runs/ 7 days
This was my third straight week at 100+ miles.  I remember years back I'd think that hitting 100 miles in one week was a major milestone.  Now, the triple digit mileage is considered "just" another week of marathon training.  

Monday, January 09, 2017

January 2 - 8 Training

Mon: AM - 8.2 miles easy (7:20); PM - 4.1 miles easy (7:38).  Looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, only because I'll be able to knock out my second run during lunch hour and have the evenings free to play with the kids.

Tue: AM - 10.7 miles including 5x1k at sub 5:05 pace w/ 400m slow jog, 4x200m fast w/ 200m jog.  Workout went really well, probably one of my better interval sessions I've had in a while.  My 1k splits were 3:06, 3:08, 3:06, 3:06 and 3:06.  I was pretty happy to see that all of my splits, with the exception of the 2nd rep, were consistent at 3:06 (4:59 pace). For the 200s, the goal was to close hard and fast while keeping good form.  Again, I surprised myself with the splits and ran all of them in 30s.  PM - 5.1 miles very easy (8:11); Running 8:00+/mile felt really good after this morning's workout. 

Wed: AM - 8.1 miles easy (7:20); PM - 5 miles easy (7:12)

Thu: AM - 9.3 miles including 4x1/4 mile uphill, 4x1/4 mile downhill.  Ran the uphill repeats in 72, 73, 73, 72 and the downhill repeats in 61, 63, 61, and 61.  Got in some really good work, and by the end of the workout I felt like I needed a new set of lungs.  I ran this same workout three weeks ago in 76, 78, 79, 80 for the uphill and 66, 65, 64, 63 for the downhill, so today's workout was a nice improvement.  PM - 4.9 miles easy (7:32)

Fri: AM - 7.5 miles easy (7:41); PM - 5 miles easy (7:21)

Sat: 22.4 miles long run (6:49).  Man, it was freezing (23 deg with a real-feel of 15).  I managed to finish my run before the roads were covered in snow.  This week's long run was nice and easy with the main purpose of spending time on my feet.  Ran the first 13 miles on rolling hills and then the last 9 miles on fairly flat ground. 

Sun: AM - 6.6 miles easy (7:23). Today was even colder with a real-feel of 3 degrees!  There was also snow on the ground from yesterday, but luckily the roads were still runnable; PM - 4 miles easy (7:30)

Weekly Total: 101.1 miles on 13 runs/7 days
A good week of training that included some decent variety (speed, hills and endurance).  It was also the coldest week with temperatures well below freezing from Thursday through Sunday.  I really don't mind the freezing temps, as long as the roads are not too icy/snowy to run on. 

Monday, January 02, 2017

December 26 - January 1 Training

Mon: AM - 8.3 miles with 6x20s pick-ups (6:54); PM - 4.7 miles easy (7:37)

Tue: AM - 11.3 miles including 5x1 mile with 300m jog; Started the mile repeats at tempo effort and then work down to 10k effort and then a bit faster towards the end.  It was the first time on the track since before Indy, so the workout was a good rust buster.  Splits were 5:27, 5:24, 5:19, 5:15 and 5:10.  PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:29)

Wed: AM - 8 miles easy (7:13); PM - 5.1 mile easy (8:17); jogging with lunch group.

Thu: AM - 9.3 miles including fartlek of 8x.15 miles fast, .35 miles moderate. Ran the fast segments at sub 5:00 pace and the moderate recovery at 6:15ish pace.  On these fartlek workouts, the moderate recoveries always seem tougher than the fast segments.  The goal of the workout was to run the fast segments slow enough that allows me to recover at the prescribed pace (6:15ish).  I ran all the fast segments at sub 5:00, but on the recoveries I was a little slower than 6:15ish pace for the 2nd and 3rd rep.  Not an excuse, but this was mainly due to the recoveries being on a slight incline.  Ended up running the 4 mile farlek in 23:15, 5:49 pace, and averaged 4:58 / 6:10 pace for the fast / moderate segments.  PM - 6.2 miles easy (7:11)

Fri: AM - 8 miles easy (7:13); PM - 4 miles easy (7:33)

Sat: 20 miles long run with the last 5 miles at sub 5:50 (6:30 overall avg pace). The first 10 miles were rolling hills and the last 10 mostly flat.  Ran comfortably easy for the first 15 miles averaging 6:45 pace.  The last couple miles of the run felt tough, because at that point I was running on fatigue legs.   .7 miles cooldown

Long run splits

Sun: AM: 1.4 easy (10:34); family run to start off the New Year.  6 miles easy (7:30); PM - 3 miles easy (7:44)

Weekly Total: 101.2 miles on 13 runs/7 days
I ended last week at 99.2 miles, and if you combine that with this week's mileage, I averaged 100 miles for the last two weeks.  Not bad considering there's still 15 weeks till Boston.  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review

Total Miles: 4585 miles; my highest yearly mileage ever and 522 miles more than last year. That’s an average of 88 miles/week or 12.5 miles/day.

Weeks Over 100 Miles: 17

Highest Weekly Mileage: 106.3

Biggest Month: August (456.7 miles)

PRs: Marathon, 2:31:44 at Indy Monumental Marathon; 10 seconds faster than my previous PR last year.

Number of Races: 7 (2 marathons, 2 half-marathons, 10 mile, 10K and 5K). Would have liked to race more, but I'm okay with only 7 races.  I enjoy the process and journey of marathon training leading up to the big events. 

States I Raced In: 5 - Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. I also raced in Washington DC, but it's not a "state". 

Days I Did Not Run: 8; not bad. Took 3 days off after Boston, 3 days when my son was born, 1 day after Indy, and 1 day because it was icy conditions and I didn’t feel like running on the treadmill.

Saucony Running Shoes: 11 (3 x Kinvara6, 6 x Kinvara7, Freedom ISO, Type A6)

4585 Total Miles
2016 was another excellent year of running. In fact, I would rate 2016 as my best running year since taking up the sport back in 1999. In 2016 and at the age of 39, I ran my highest mileage ever, PR'd and broke my own Guam National Record for the marathon, and more importantly, remained healthy and injury-free.  Even though I only PR'd in the marathon event, there's no doubt that I would have also ran personal bests in the half-marathon and 10-mile distances if race day conditions were better. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not on our side.  The Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia in September ended up being very warm and humid, and the Army Ten-Miler in early October turned out to be a very windy day.  Despite the less-than-ideal conditions for the two races, I still ran strong and finished with respectable times, 1:12:48 at RnR Philly and 54:41 at the Army 10-Miler.  

Almost every year I run two marathons, one in the spring and one in the fall.  2016 was no different.  In April, I ran my sixth total and fifth consecutive Boston finishing in 2:37:23, good for 90th Overall.  It was my second time finishing in the Top 100 at the world's most prestigious marathon. For my fall marathon, I chose to run Indianapolis Monumental Marathon over California International Marathon, which I ran in 2014 and 2015.  I went into Indy in the best marathon fitness I've ever been in and with hopes of running a sub-2:30. As you've probably already seen from my previous blog post, I came up short.  I was still very happy to end up with a PR though.  

Boston Marathon
2:37:23 (90th Overall)

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
2:31:44 (PR)

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was my 26th race at the 26.2 mile distance. As a countdown to my 26th marathon, I posted a photo each day on Instagram of my previous marathons (1-25) with my result and a brief description of the race. It was pretty interesting to see my marathon progression over the years.  If you have some time, be sure to check it out on my Instagram (click here). 

I decided to run Indy Monumental for a couple reasons: (1) my coach had recommended the race; (2) I wanted to run a course that was mostly flat and fast. The last two years I ran Boston and California International Marathon, both of which are rolling hill courses;  And (3) I qualified as an elite athlete and would get a comp entry.

I arrived in Indy on Thursday and after stopping by the expo to pick up my bib, I enjoyed a nice birthday dinner date with my wife. I turned 39 years young two days before the race. On Friday, besides a pre-race shakeout run in the morning and then brunch with my wife in downtown Indy, I didn’t do much of anything. I stayed off my feet as much as possible. I waited till the late afternoon for the elite athletes’ meeting, where we would receive some instructions and drop off my fuel bottles for the race. I dropped off three Herbalife24 water bottles filled with a mixture of Herbalife24 Prolong and Prepare. My green bottles would be easily identifiable, because all the other bottles were clear with markings on them. 
Prepping my fuel bottles with Herbalife24 Prolong/Prepare

After the meeting my wife and I met up with Scott (my coach), Joseph Alsakr (who was running the half), Joseph’s friend, and another of Scott’s athlete for dinner. We ordered some take out pasta, found an area with tables and chairs in the Circle Center Mall, and carbo loaded. I thought this was a brilliant idea. We didn’t have to decide on a restaurant, and even if we did we'd probably have to wait a half hour for our food. 

My race plan was similar to my last CIM race, go out at 5:43-5:45 pace for the first half (1:15ish) and then try to negative split the 2nd half. When the gun went off, everyone shot off. The half-marathoners started at the same time as the marathoners, so there was no way of telling who was running the marathon until the half-marathoners split off just after mile 7. In the first mile, my GPS was reading 5:45 pace, so I figured I was running the right pace. When my watch automatically split at 5:45, there was no mile marker in sight. I got to the 2nd mile marker and the clock read 11:17. It turned out that I likely ran the first mile in around 5:35. I didn’t want to run any faster than 5:43s, and Scott said that it’s easy to get sucked into running a faster pace with the half-marathoners, so I slowed the pace a tad bit. Around mile 4, three runners (from here on out I’ll refer to them as the small group) came up beside me. I heard one runner say that his plan was to run the first half in 1:15 and the second half in 1:15. I said “Awesome, I’m also aiming for 2:30.” Not long after I said that, the group kept on rolling and immediately put about 10 meters on me. I was confused because I felt like I was running 2:30 pace and here they were rolling on by. I decided not to go with them and continued running my pace. (Turned out it was the right decision). I came through the 10k in 35:34, right on 5:43 pace. The small group went through 20 seconds faster.

Just after the half-marathoners broke off around mile 7, one runner (Shawn Ferguson) came from behind me. I ran with Shawn for about a minute and then backed off as I felt like he was running about a 5:40 pace. At mile 8, I saw the first fuel table and I had no problems spotting my green Herbalife24 bottle. I held on to my bottle for about a quarter mile until I took in most of my fluids (about 10 ounces). Over the next few miles, I continued to run alone with Shawn about 100m ahead and the small group about another 100m in front of Shawn. I came through the half in 1:15:15, right about where I wanted to be. Looking at the results, Shawn came through the half in 1:14:55 and the small group in 1:14:22, sub-2:29 pace. I knew the small group was running faster than 2:30 pace.

At 14 miles, I picked up my second fuel bottle. I carried it until I took in all my fluids. I continued to feel pretty good running anywhere between 5:43-5:46 pace. At around 17 miles into the race, my GPS acted really weird. It showed that I was running 7:50 pace, and then it would jump down to 4:40 pace. I decided to stop looking at my watch and just focus on running by effort.   

Just before mile 20, I started to feel a little cramp developing in my left hamstring.   I experienced this in previous marathons and learned that I just needed to take in more fluids and an energy gel.   Luckily, the third and final fuel station for elites was at 20 miles.   I picked up my last fuel bottle and drank every ounce of it.  The cramp subsided, but my pace had slowed into the 5:50s.  

During the long stretch of road on mile 22, I caught and passed each of the runners from the small group.  Two of the runners from the small group ended up running the 2nd half four minutes slower while the third runner ran seven minutes slower.  I was glad that I stuck with my own pace early in the race. 

Around midway through 24 miles, the marathoners and half-marathoners merge onto the same road.  Traffic cones separated the two races, but there were still half-marathoners who thought it was cool to run on the marathoners' side of the road.  About 24.5 miles, one marathon runner (Jake Sutton) came from behind and caught me.  Jake shouted to the half-marathoners in our lane to make a hole.  I didn't have the energy to say anything and probably would have just gone around the half-marathoners.  Jake clearly had something left in the tank because his turnover was a lot quicker than mine.  I tried to go with Jake, but I just couldn't hang on to him.  It was the first time being passed by another marathoner since mile 7.  Jake ended up running a really smart race and huge negative split (1:16:31 / 1:14:53).

Jake behind me in yellow/red singlet about to put a whooping on me!

The last half mile of the Indy Monumental course runs by the Indiana state capitol building before making a sharp right to the finish near the Government Center.  When I hit the 26 mile marker by the state capitol in 2:30:30, I realized that I could still PR if I booked it in.  I then shifted into another gear and crossed the finish in 2:31:44, a new personal best by 10 seconds.  I placed 11th Overall and was 1st in my Age Group. 

Overall, I was pretty ecstatic to PR, because honestly I thought I had lost too much time between miles 21-25.  I was a little bummed, however, that I didn't run 2:30/sub-2:30.   At 39 years young and approaching the Masters division, I still think that I have a 2:30/sub-2:30 in me.  We will see! 
11th Overall, 1st in Age Group

Pre-race: The morning of the race I had a bagel with peanut butter and jelly, a Herbalife24 Formula1 Sport shake and a banana.  I also drank 20 ounces of Herbalife24 Prolong a couple hours before the race.  Normally, I drink a cup of coffee, but I didn't this time around because my tummy was already full, and I wanted to ensure I took in electrolytes before the coffee.  Right before the race started, I took in one energy gel. 

During the race: At miles 8, 14 and 20, I took in about 10-12 ounces of Herbalife24 Prolong mixed with a little Prepare.  I also took in 3-4 gels throughout the race.  

Sunday, May 08, 2016

2016 Boston Marathon Race Report

This race report is long overdue, but it's better late than never.  

Marathon Training
My Boston Marathon training went really well and I felt like I was in slightly better shape than I was going into CIM where I ran 2:31:54.  Although training went well, I was a little stressed in January/February.  I made the temporary move from Maryland to Tampa for work, and leaving the family behind was tough.  One might think that Tampa is a great place to train for a marathon in the late winter and early spring, but not quite.  While the temperatures (60-70 deg) were ideal, it was the high humidity that made training sometimes very tough.  Additionally, Tampa is pancake flat and probably not the best place to train if you're preparing for a marathon with lots of rolling hills like Boston.  Believe it or not, I had to drive 1.5 hours to Clermont, FL to put in a long run on rolling hills.  With the exception of one long run on rolling hills, all of my training runs from Jan 30 - Apr 14 were done on flat surface.  Pathetic!

Tampa is flat! I had many weeks with 0 ft elevation gain.
Race Strategy
My race strategy going into Boston was to run 5:45ish pace and feel comfortable up to Newton Hills.  I'd expect my pace to slow around 5:50-5:55ish on the hills and then hopefully run strong over the last five miles.  The plan was to come through the half between 1:15-1:16, which would put me in a good position to finish hopefully somewhere between 2:30 and sub-2:33.  

Boston Marathon
There are many things that make the Boston Marathon a unique race.  It's the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events.  Runners must meet the Boston qualifying standards (aka BQ), and even with a BQ you're not guaranteed an entry. For 2016, runners had to run 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than their age and gender standard. Also, the rolling hills course is brutal and will thrash the legs before you get to the actual hills. Let's not forget the Boston Strong crowd.  Boston's crowd support along the 26.2 mile course is unlike any other marathon.  There are thousands of Boston spectators lining the course to cheer on and encourage the runners, regardless of the weather conditions.  Speaking of weather, I think this is what makes the Boston Marathon a unique and unpredictable race. The weather on Patriot's Day can be cold, hot, rainy, or very windy.  In my last five Boston Marathons, race day conditions varied: 2012 was scorching with temps in the high 80s, 2013 and 2014 were almost perfect marathon weather, and 2015 was cold and wet with strong headwinds.  This year the conditions looked perfect for marathon running about 7 days out from the race.  However, as it got closer to race day, it seemed as though it was going to be another warm Marathon Monday.  

The temperature at the start of the race was in the low to mid 60s, but it felt a little warmer with the sun beating down and no cloud cover.  Since I've been training in warm and humid conditions over the last couple months, I decided to stick with my race strategy.  The gun went off and I tried to focus on running smooth and comfortable as much as possible.  The first few miles were slightly faster than 5:45 pace, but with the early downhill miles I expected that I'd be closer to 5:40s.  From mile 5 till the halfway mark I settled in running splits between 5:45 - 5:50.  I took in fluids at every aid station and an energy gel every 5-6 miles.  

I came through the half in 1:15:35, which was right where I wanted to be and on pace for a sub 2:32.  At this point in the race, not only was it very warm, but there was also a decent headwind.  The headwind wasn't as strong as last year, but it was noticeable and enough to slow a runner's pace a few seconds per mile.  After running 5:48 and 5:50 for miles 14 and 15, I opened up on the last half mile of mile 16, which had a 130 ft elevation loss, and ran a 5:32 mile split.  I did not expect to run the mile split that fast.  I'm not sure if it was the fast 16th mile split or the warm weather and grueling downhills, or a combination of all of it, that took something out of the legs because they started to feel heavy.  

In the Newton hills, my pace began to slow and I could only manage to run 6:02, 6:09 and 6:06 for miles 17-19.  I calculated that I'd finish with a sub 2:35 if I maintained my current pace.  My hamstrings then started to cramp a little around Heartbreak Hill and now my race went from feeling tough to survival mode.  Instead of running 6:05-6:10 pace I was now running 6:30 pace.  I tried to stay composed and took in as much fluids as I could at the aid station to prevent the hamstrings from cramping even more.

At around the Boston College campus on Commonwealth Ave, I caught up to a runner that looked familiar.  It was the BAA runner (Brad Mish), who I came across around the same part of the course in last year's Boston Marathon.  It was like deja-vu all over again.  What's bizarre about it, and I didn't know it until I saw the photos, is that we were both assigned the same bib numbers for the 2015 and 2016 race.  
The BAA runner looked familiar!
After I caught up to Mr. 982, we ran together for a little bit before he slowly faded back.  At this point in the race, my legs couldn't go any faster, and I was just trying to hold things together and get to the finish line in one piece.  Luckily, my legs held up and I was able to run no slower than 6:30 pace over the last 10K.  I crossed the finish in 2:37:23, which was good enough for 90th Overall.  

All in all, I was satisfied with my race performance and that I ran tough when the going got tough.  I was most happy with finishing in the Top 100 again (56th Overall in 2012).  I think finishing in the top 100 in any of the six World Marathon Majors ((Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, New York) is a significant accomplishment for an average runner.  Although I know I was fit and ready to beat last year's time, I think the warm conditions and lack of hill training were factors for the slower finishing time.  Unfortunately, there's nothing I could have done about the weather on Marathon Monday and the lack of hills in Tampa.   Life goes on....

What's next?
I normally take a full recovery following the Boston Marathon and then slowly build my base back up during the summer.  However, this time around I'm only taking a few weeks to recover from Boston before I'm back training hard again.  There's a "possibility" that I may represent my island of Guam in the 2016 Olympic Games marathon in August. I likely won't know if I'm selected or not until early July.  While July is late notice, the only thing I can do is train my butt off, get into the best possible shape and hope I'm selected.  Wish me luck!!!

Completing the Rio nomination packet

Saturday, April 23, 2016

120th Boston Marathon - 2:37:23, 90th Overall

I ran my sixth Boston Marathon (5th consecutive) this past Monday finishing in 2:37:23, 90th Place Overall.  While my time was much slower than I had hoped, I was still very happy to have placed in the Top 100 for the second time (I was 56th Overall in 2012).  

The finishing times were slower across the board, even for the elites, because of the warm and windy conditions.  I'll get more into the details in my race report, which I hope to post soon.