Monday, November 27, 2006


The tapering has begun. I ran for 40+ minutes very easy this morning. The quads were tight and a bit sore from yesterday's long run. A little soreness in the legs was expected as I spent almost 2 1/2 hours pounding on pavement. The good thing about yesterday's workout was that I know the legs can still run fast when fatigue. This will be very crucial when it comes down to the last few miles in the race.

Today's run: 45:55 (6.4M - 7:10 pace)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The hard work is done

I really didn't think the long run was going to happen with the way my body was feeling yesterday. My cold got worse and the body felt like crap. I spent my Saturday watching college football while taking drugs every 4-6 hours. The doses of pseudoephedrine and Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) throughout the day didn't seem to make me feel any better. I hit the sack around midnight, after watching the Fighting Irish take a painful beating by the Trojans. When the alarm sounded at 7am I was amazed that my congestion wasn't as bad and that I could actually breathe through both nostrils. Still had a runny nose, but that would just mean a hundred snot blowing throughout the run.

This morning's long run was my last 20+ miler. The run served as a confidence booster heading into the actual tapering phase. The legs felt light as I took off in my 2+ hour journey of Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg. After hitting the first couple miles in 6:53 and 6:43, the legs and body seemed to fall into a steady rhythm and pace. I cruised along my long run route at a 6:28 - 6:36 pace. The legs began to feel fatigue and heavy between the 19th and 20th mile mark. I wanted to finish the long run strong, so I picked up the pace and ended up running mile 21 in 5:54.

The hard work is done and now it's a matter of getting to the race healthy and eager. I will do a tune-up and marathon pace workout this coming week to lock in goal pace. This should wrap things up before I head to Huntsville.

Today's run: 2:20:30 (21.4M - 6:34 pace)
Weekly Mileage: 69 miles (6 sessions)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Running in the cold with a cold

I've spent the last couple days fighting a cold I caught on the night of turkey day. It's been awhile since I had a cold or some sort of sickness. The good thing is that I'd rather go through it now than the week of my marathon, which is only a couple weekends away.

I went for an easy run on trails yesterday. The legs felt fine. I didn't expect it to be sore after a mediocre performance. It was really nice to get out and just run easy to get things off the mind, especially the frustration of not running fast. The race is all behind me and now it's time to focus at the task ahead, running a good marathon - hopefully a fast time and a PR. This morning's workout was an easy run with a fast-finishing mile. After running the first couple miles fairly easy, I settled into a comfortable steady pace averaging 6:40 - 6:44 over the next 7 miles. I then ran the 10th mile in 5:40 before cooling down for a half mile. The body definitely felt like it wanted to run more. However, with only 2 weeks reaming, it's probably best to hold back a bit. There's not much improvement on fitness that can be done over the peaking/tapering phase.

Tomorrow will be my last 20(+) miler, #7 for this marathon training cycle.

Today's run: 1:09:50 (10.5M - 6:39 pace; easy run with a fast-finishing mile)
Yesterday's run: 1:03:13 (9M - 7:01 pace; easy run)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Trot

I spent a little time last night browsing running sites to find a Turkey Trot. Turkey Trots are just one of those annual races you must do, just like the Jingle Bell Jog. I managed to find a race (Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 8K) in the Raleigh area. After a 75 minute drive and registering late (as always), I was ready to get on with my warm-up. But not until my phone rings and reads "SFC xxxxxx. Work. $h!t, this cannot be good. Anytime I receive a phone call from work in the weekends or holidays, especially in the early mornings, it is almost always bad news.... either one of my Soldiers got into trouble or it is an emergency that I must come in to work. Yup, one of my Soldiers had an incident. I stayed on the phone, sitting in my jeep with the legs a little stiff from the drive, for almost an hour sorting out things. By the time I got off the phone I only had 5 minutes before the race would start. This was just enough time to put on my racing shoes and run to the start line.

Fast Forward. I had a bad race. Here are my excuses. No warm-up. The legs felt heavy. It was cold - 42 degrees. Never got into a rhythm. Side-stitch at mile 3 that got worse and never went away. One hill too many. Okay, I'm done whining. I came in 2nd overall with a snail time of 28:40 (5:46 pace). It was a bit frustrating because I could run this time as a training workout. The course had a few rolling hills, but I didn't think it was all that bad. I was happy when the awards ceremony finally happened. I received a gray Brooks Element Jacket priced at $100. After all, it will be a good Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Today's Run: 56:37 (8k in 28:40 w/ 4M cool-down)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekly Summary (14-19 NOV)

I haven't been able to post lately because of my busy work schedule and a trip to see the Irish give Army a butt kicking.

Tuesday: Easy run with 10 x 30 sec. very fast w/ 1 min. recoveries. (1:12:33)

Wednesday: Easy recovery run (45:11)

Thursday: 15' warm-up followed by 6 miles at goal marathon pace. 6M - 5:55, 5:56, 5:55, 5:55, 5:54, & 5:51. Was scheduled to do 8 miles at goal pace, but body and legs were tired from previous days at work. 15' cool-down. (1:04:50)

Friday: 20K Ruckmarch; 45lb ruck on my back. Definitely not one of the workouts I had planned on my running schedule. But it has to be done as part of our quarterly Army training events.

Saturday: Easy run with the last few miles close to marathon pace. Many parts of the body are sore and tight from yesterday's ruckmarch. (1:06:12)

Sunday: Long steady run with Bobby at Notre Dame and South Bend. Ran most of the long run close to marathon pace. (1:42:20 - 16M)

Monday, November 13, 2006

4 weeks out

Not a whole lot to write about. I went for an easy run, out in 28:47 and back in 27:12. I thought the legs would be a little fatigue or heavy with yesterday's long run, but everything was just fine. The big day is 4 weeks away and I think I'm peaking on the right time. Now it's a matter of keeping what I have and staying injury-free.

Today's Run: 55:59 (8.1 - 6:55 pace); easy run.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'll save the 2.2 miles for race day

Mother Nature just has to make things tougher for us. As I stepped out the door, all I hear is the sound of trees and leaves blowing. This can't be good. I went back in to check the forecast. 50 degrees with 30% chance of rain and wind from NNW at 15 mph gusting to 25 mph. As I drove to post (Ft Bragg) I could feel my jeep swerve a bit from the gust of wind. This long run is going to take a lot of effort. When I got to my usual starting location and shut off my jeep, it begins to pour. $h*t, just freakin perfect! Rain, wind, and the cold mixed together just don’t motivate me. After about 10 minutes of being a wuss, I toughed it out and headed for the long run. It stopped raining about a mile into my run. I wasn't all that soaked until some jackass drove right beside me into a huge puddle of water and gave me a cold shower. He probably meant it because he had a free lane he could have switched to. I was so close to giving him the finger.

Besides running into wind half the time, my run went very well. I was consistently running between 6:30 and 6:40 pace. I hit the first 10 miles in 1:06:48 (6:41 pace), then reached 20 miles in 2:12 flat (11-20 miles in 1:05:12 - 6:31 pace). I was feeling good and the legs seemed to find its rhythm. The 20 mile mark in the marathon is a crucial point in the race. I was visualizing finishing strong in Rocket City, so I decided to pick up the pace for the remaining 4 miles. I hit the last 4 miles in 24:38 (6:22, 6:11, 6:10, & 5:55). The legs felt good afterwards. Thinking about it, I could have easily run the last 2.2 miles at 6:30 pace and finish the marathon as a long run in a sub-2:51.

Here is a comparison of the same 24 mile run I did in January for the Austin Marathon.
1/22/06: 24 miles in 2:42:30 (6:46 pace)
11/12/06: 24 miles in 2:36:38 (6:32 pace)

Today's Run: 24 miles (2:36:38 - 6:32 pace)
Weekly Mileage: 90 miles (9 sessions)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The decision has been made

It's official! I'll be running Rocket City Marathon on Dec 9. Registration, airline ticket, and hotel have been purchased and confirmed. All that remains is 4 weeks - a couple more 20+ milers, locking in race pace, and the final two weeks of peaking/tapering.

Easy run on trails this morning. Tomorrow will be a steady long run of 22-24 miles.

Today's Run: 59:35

Friday, November 10, 2006

What's your take on Yasso?

Today's workout was an 800 meter interval workout, also known as Yasso 800s. The workout is named after Bart Yasso from Runner's World. Many marathon runners use this workout as a marathon predictor workout. The time you run the 800s is the approximate time in hours and minutes that you're capable of running the marathon. In other words, if you run 800 meters in 2 minutes and 50 seconds, then you can run the marathon in 2 hours and 50 minutes. Yasso and Greg McMillan states that you should work your way up to 10 repeats with 400 meters of recovery. In his website, Greg says that the workout predicts about five minutes too fast for most marathoners. I think it all depends on how you approach the workout. I've done this workout for my last couple marathons and I personally think it predicts about 1-3 seconds too fast. I guess I'll find out after I cross the finish line.

After 29 minutes of warming up, I end up at the track where my running friends (Mike, Kerryn, and Melinda) have already started their workout. They are doing the same workout, but just a few less repeats than I'll be doing. I started helping the three of them by creating a training schedule for them to follow. I'm no certified coach (hopefully one of these days I will be), but I think I have enough experience and knowledge of running that they will improve in their race times. It's great seeing friends run faster. Don't we all want to run faster?

The goal is to break my marathon PR of 2:38 and with the way my training has gone the past couple months, I think it's a great possibility it will happen. Knowing this, I went into today's workout with the goal of averaging 2:35-2:36 for the 800s. That will be a 2:35 or 2:36 marathon according to Yasso. To get to the point, my workout went very well. The pace felt comfortably hard and I ended the workout knowing that I could have ran one or two more repeats. My 400m recoveries stayed between 2:10 - 2:15.

Here are my splits:
2:36, 2:36, 2:36, 2:35, 2:35, 2:35, 2:33, 2:33, 2:33, 2:33

Today's Run: AM - 1:34:23 (14.5 miles - 10 x 800s w/ 400m recoveries); PM - 30:11 (4M shakeout run)

Tuesday: (11.5M / 1:18:50) easy run
Wednesday: (6.7M / 49:14) easy recovery run
Thursday: (11.5M / 1:18:20) easy run

Monday, November 06, 2006

Help me decide

Why train so hard and have nothing to show for it? That’s what I asked myself about a hundred times yesterday. The marathon is only 5 weeks away and I have yet to register. I got online to register, but before doing so, my sixth sense told me to read about the course. I swear that I had looked at the course elevation when I decided to run Charlotte two months ago. Looking at the course elevation map, it seems like there are rolling hills the entire way. Course elevation maps can be deceiving, so I did my homework. I read the runner comments on and looked up last year’s results. Almost every runner comment pointed out the rolling “hills”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind hills. In fact, I’m a fairly strong hill runner and prefer running a marathon that has a couple small rolling hills rather than one that is completely flat the entire way. But I don’t think I want to run a marathon that would be rolling for 26.2 miles, especially after putting in months of pure hard work.

My goal in my next marathon (whichever it ends up being) is to run another PR and average sub-6:00 pace. I really don’t want to chance it on a course like Charlotte. With that being said, my marathon options have opened up again and I’m now looking at Rocket City Marathon and Kiawah Island Marathon, with Charlotte still in the air. I’ve heard about Rocket City Marathon being one of the best small city marathons in the nation. The runner comments for Rocket City had nothing but good things to say. Well organized, excellent race, course relatively flat, and fast times. Deciding which marathon to run is becoming a task itself. Hopefully, I’ll decide over the next couple days.

Okay, now about training. My legs felt fine even with yesterday’s long run. I ran very easy in the morning and then again in the evening.

Today’s Run: AM – 41:33 (~5M) PM – 40:01 (5.5M)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Was it the tequila and chocolate cake?

Last night, my friends celebrated my birthday which was on Friday. Two shots of tequila, some delicious chocolate cake, karaoke, and in bed at 1:30 am. I don't recommend this plan the night before a key long hard run of 20+ miles.

I woke up five hours later feeling okay. The first thing I did was drink about 12 oz. of water knowing that I needed to be hydrated for my workout. Next thing I did was check the temperature. Brrrrr.... 30 degrees. That calls for some gloves, beanie, and a jacket. The planned workout was 20 miles with the last 6 to 8 miles at goal marathon pace. After last night, I expected the worst. As I ran the first few minutes of my 2+ hour run, I realized that my body and legs was feeling pretty good. I cruised along for the first 12 miles in 1:20:12 (avg. 6:41) before ending up at the track for the next 6-8 miles at goal pace. I told myself that I'll see how I felt after the 6 miles at goal pace, and then finish the last 2 miles or call it for the day depending on the legs. When I got to the track I did a lap to transition into the pace. I felt good for the entire run and ended up completing the 8 miles at goal pace. I wasn't too surprised to see that I was hitting my splits with ease and feeling comfortable. I did the 8 miles in 47:12 (5:54 pace).

Here are my splits:
1-12M - 1:20:12
13M - 5:58
14M - 5:58
15M - 5:57
16M - 5:56
17M - 5:57
18M - 5:53
19M - 5:51
20M - 5:42
2.1 miles cooldown - 14:10

I looked back at my training log from my last marathon (2:38 in Austin) and compared the same workout with today's.
1/15/06: 1st 12M in 1:23 (6:55 pace); 8M @ goal pace in 47:39
11/05/06: 1st 12M in 1:20 (6:41 pace); 8M @ goal pace in 47:12

I'm very happy with the way my training is coming along. Today's 22 miler was my 5th 20+ miler in the last 7 weeks. The way things are looking so far, I should be able to run another PR and hopefully sub-6:00 miles for 26.2 miles.

Today's Run: 22.1 miles (2:21:34 - 6:24 pace)
Weekly Mileage: 90.4 miles

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Real runners

Today was a fun day with some running friends. We ran the Rotary 10k race, which was crowded with 16 runners. No, it's not a typo. 16 runners! Can you believe that? This was the smallest race I've ever entered. It was probably the 36 degree weather that kept everyone tucked in their sheets. At least we know who the real runners are. You know what's even better? They had Championship Timing chips.

I had no intentions of racing since today is supposed to be an easy day and a key long run scheduled tomorrow. So, instead of shooting out and hitting the 1st mile in 5:00 with Bobby (far right) and Shane (far left), I decided to hang back with Kerryn (white hat) and Mike. Kerryn asked if I could pace her and I said "no problem". She said she wanted to break 40 minutes. I thought, "Cool, this will give me a nice steady run." At this point the brain was struggling with calculating the pace/mile. Don't ask how long it took to calculate the pace. We came across the 1st mile in 5:55, which felt like a walk in the park. Okay, that wasn't supposed to happen. I was just hoping that I didn't screw up her race with that 1st mile. I managed to regroup and settle into a steady pace. To make a long story short, I accomplished my mission. Kerryn crossed the finish line in 38:45. She was very happy with her run and maybe a little surprised that she averaged 6:15/mile. In the end, everyone had a fun time.

Today's Run: 1:09:32 (2M - wu/cd + 10k in 38:45)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Good day of running on a special day

A good day of running on my 29th special day. I believe this is about the age in which most distance runners peak. Of course, that's if they've been running competitively since high school. I know for a fact that I have yet to peak. This is only my 7th year of running and I know I still have many years of fast running to come. Hopefully, fast running will mean low-2:3x marathons and possibly a sub-2:30. It's possible! However, it will take lots of hard work.

Today's workout was a stamina workout consisting of 7 x 1000 meters with 200 meter recovery, plus 3 x 200m fast with 200m recovery. Stamina workouts are meant to increase your lactate threshold, which allows you to run faster for a longer period of time. The run is more of a cruise interval workout than a speed workout because the pace is moderately hard. The goal is to get fatigue with the duration of the workout not the speed. After warming up for 33 minutes, I hit the track for the meat of the workout. The goal was 1k repeats in 3:18 - 3:21. 1st repeat - 3:19, 2nd repeat - 3:19. I'm thinking "wow, this doesn't feel too bad at all." That was the 2nd repeat and with only 200m recoveries, the legs will sure be feeling it shortly. I ended up running the last 5 repeats in 3:18, 3:17, 3:18, 3:15, & 3:15. The legs held up. The legs began to fatigue after the 7th and last repeat, and I still had the 200m repeats to do. I hit the 200s in 32, 34, 32. I was thinking of cutting my cool-down short because the legs felt beaten. As I went on my cool-down the legs got into a rhythm and ended up doing a 4-mile cool-down.

Tomorrow will be an easy day. Sunday will a key long run workout. The plan is to run 20 miles with the last 6 to 8 miles at goal marathon pace, which I'm thinking is about 5:55 - 5:59 pace.

Today's Runs: AM - 1:37:24 (14.8M); 7 x 1K w/ 200m recovery, plus 3 x 200m w/ 200m recovery; PM - 30:44; easy shakeout run mostly on grass. legs felt good.

Here's how the week went so far:
Monday: AM: 38:29 - easy run; PM: 42:28 steady easy run
Tuesday: 1:20:02 - steady run with 10 x 1 min. w/ 1 min. recovery in the middle of the run
Wednesday: 46:41 - easy run
Thursday: 1:13:25 - steady run with the last couple miles at 6:10 - 6:20 pace.