Monday, December 29, 2008


Injured! Looks like I won't be racing on Wednesday....or maybe I should say I won't be running the rest of the year and some into 2009. On Sunday's run I experienced some pain on the inside of my right achilles tendon. The pain wasn't on the actual achilles tendon, but between the tendon and the bottom of the tibia. It hurt to the point that I had to stop every 4-5 minutes during the latter part of the run. The worst had yet to come.

After the run I did the stair stretch stretching the calves and achilles, first the right leg and then the left. When slowly lowering the left heel I heard a light crackling sound and began feeling a sharp pain on the left achilles tendon. I had just strained my left achilles tendon while stretching. I know it wasn't a rupture because I wouldn't be able to walk. I'll find out more on the injury after tomorrow's appointment with the doctor. For now I won't be doing any running. This is certainly not the way I'd hoped to end the year and start off 2009.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Training.....what training?

Training hasn't gone very well this week. Toward the end of Sunday's long run, which was 17 miles including 7 x 1/4 mile, I started to feel some lingering pain in the legs. On Monday's run I had to stop a few times to stretch my calf and achilles on my right leg and the soleus muscle on my left leg. I was having all sorts of trouble. Tuesday, I went for a run but ended up calling it quits after a half mile. My legs were very tight and I could still feel some twinges in the legs. I took Wednesday completely off from running. Christmas morning I did 7+ miles with 6 strides in the end. Friday was also a DNR (Did Not Run) as it was a long day of flying back to the Netherlands. Today (Sat) I went for an easy run and the legs felt good. I'm hoping the aches in the legs were nothing serious and that the legs just needed a bit of rest. If the legs feel good tomorrow then I'll do a short speed session to get ready for the 10K race on Wednesday night. I'm looking forward to this race as it will be my first 10k race in a long time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Run in the Sun

I went for a run this morning and boy what a wonderful feeling it was to run in the sun (currently in California). It felt different running in cold sunny conditions. I guess it goes to show that I've gotten used to the Netherland's winter weather ....mostly cloudy, overcast, rain, very cold, snow, flurries, etc. I had planned to run only 10 miles this morning but ended up stretching it to 12 to get in a bit more mileage. The legs felt good and fresh because of a day off from running yesterday, due to traveling. Tomorrow will be a longer run with some faster pace running.

Today's run: 12 miles @ 6:43 pace
Thursday: 11 miles @ 6:50 pace
Wednesday: Noon - 4.1 miles @ 7:25 pace; PM - 7.2 miles @ 7:24 pace

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Legs feeling fine

I did a poor job of describing how tough the course was on Sunday's race, so I'll let this picture do the talking. All I remember during this part of the race was the burning sensation in the quads. They were screaming.

I'm quite surprised with how the legs are feeling. The morning after the race I woke up with some tightness and a little soreness in the legs, mainly the quads, but nothing too serious. I expected a lot more soreness than what I was feeling. Yesterday during lunch I ran 5 miles very easy to loosen up the legs. The run definitely got the blood circulation going and the legs started to feel better. Later that night I went for another run, 6 miles very easy.

Tonight, I linked up with the club at the track. We did a workout of 6 x 800 meters with 200 meters recovery. Paul did 1000s, so I latched on to him after his first 200s. I intended to run a few meters behind him at a slightly slower pace since I was still recovering from Sunday's race. I was shocked to see 76 seconds on the first lap and feeling quite controlled. From there on I just ran according to how I felt. The splits for the 6 x 800s were: 2:35, 2:32, 2:32, 2:32, 2:30, & 2:26.

Today's run: 8 miles including 6 x 800
Monday: Noon - 5M @ 7:32 pace; PM - 6M @ 7:32 pace

Last week's training.

8-14 Dec

Mon: 8M @ 6:59 pace
Tues: Noon - 4.5M @ 7:25 pace; PM - 9M including 9 x 600m (1:52, 1:50, 1:52, 1:49, 1:48, 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, & 1:51)
Wed: 8.5M @ 7:04 pace
Thur: 10M @ 7:00 pace
Fri: 6M @ 7:20 pace
Sat: 5M @ 7:20 pace
Sun: 19M total; Race - Mescherbergloop 15K: 56:41, 6th overall; 2.5M WU, 7.5M CD

Weekly Total: 70 miles

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Lesson learned! DO NOT wear road racing shoes for a trail or cross country race. It was a dumb and rookie decision on my part. It certainly cost me at least a minute, a couple overall places and prize money in the open category. Before the race my friend and I did a warmup running about 2.5 miles of the course, which is about 80% dirt (mud in most cases). It was my first taste of what I was about to experience. During the slow warmup I used my Asics training shoes (which I intended to race in) and was already having some difficulty with the footing. When I went to change into my racing clothes I decided to change my shoes as well to the Saucony Fastwitch 2. I honestly thought I could get away with it.

At the starting line, my hopes of a good race started to dwindle when I looked around to see what shoes all the other runners were wearing. It was obvious they ran this race before and knew what the course was like. Almost all runners wore cross country shoes (rubber spikes) or trail shoes. When we were waiting for the gun to go off my friend from the running club (AV Unitas) asked me if I had trail shoes. "Yeah, there at home." I really wanted to laugh.

I felt good in the first 1/4 mile of the race as this was one of the few parts of the course that was on pavement. As soon as we turned into the trails the slipping and sliding began for me. I literally was looking for the little rocks so that I can push off and get some traction and momentum going. About 3k into the race I could not help but watch the leaders slowly increase their lead. All I kept thinking about was why in the hell did I not bring my Nike waffle cross shoes. I ran alone for the next 5 kilometers with a couple runners in sight about 50-75 meters ahead. However, I was making up some ground on them each time we'd come across the hills. The toughest part of the course (that's an understatement because the entire course is tough) is the 9th kilometer, where there are a couple hills followed by a steep wooden stairway (about 180 steps). It was during this part of the course that I caught and passed the two runners I had in sight. On a downhill with mud one of the runners I caught quickly opened a 25 meter lead while I was focused on just trying to stay on my feet. I stayed in that position, which I later found out was 5th overall and 3rd in the open category, until another downhill (around the 13.5 km mark) when the second runner I passed flew by me. There was no way to respond as I continued to slip and slide and tried everything possible again to stay on my feet. I finished 6th overall in 56:41. You can view the results here (click on Uitslagen on the left and then Uitslagen Mescherbergloop).

All in all, it was a disappointing race for me. I probably needed a bad race though, because I learned something from it. Preparation! I need to do a better job of preparing for my races, knowing the course and terrain and choosing the right gear (shoes in today's case).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greatest

First I raced Bekele at Seven Hills, now it looks like I'll have to take on Geb (Haile Gebrselassie) at the City-Pier-City Half Marathon in Den Haag (The Hague) on March 14. The Ethiopians just can't get enough of me. Okay, that was a joke! I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to see "The Greatest" in person.

On Tuesday night's track session during the cooldown my Dutch friends and I were discussing races that we plan to run over the next few months. The City-Pier-City Half Marathon was one of the races we agreed upon. Even before we talked about our race schedule I had already planned for this race to be my tune-up for Rotterdam Marathon in April. I was happy when I read the news that Geb will be running it and trying to take back the half-marathon record. The course is proven to be fast; Beijing Olympic Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru broke the half-marathon world record (58:33) in this race in 2007. As Geb tries for yet another record I'll be trying to lower my half-marathon personal best, which I'm confident I can get down to sub-1:13.

Ran an easy 10 today and 8.5 yesterday.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Simple math

Had a good speed session tonight with Paul and the club. The track was wet from rain earlier in the day, but luckily it wasn't cold enough to make the track icy or slippery. The workout for the night was 600 meter repeats, 9 total with 200 recovery. Before the workout Paul and I had a rough time trying to figure out the split for the 600s. We knew that we wanted to run 75 seconds for the 400 and then 37 seconds for the remaining 200. Now, how hard could it be to add 75 + 37 seconds? It was obvious math wasn't our favorite subject in school because it took us some time to do simple addition. We finally figured it out, 1:52 for 600m. We decided that 1:50-1:52 would be our goal split for the workout. The splits for the 9 repeats of 600 meters were:
1:52, 1:50, 1:52, 1:49, 1:48, 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, and 1:51.

The 600m repeats felt like a sprint compared to the last two track workouts, which were 1000-2000 repeats. I found the workout to be mentally easier by breaking the 600 meters into a 400 and 200. In most cases, we hit the 400 around 71-73 and the 200 at 37 seconds. Overall, it was a good workout and the body and legs felt strong.

The remainder of the week will be easy running because I'm running a 15k trail race (Mescherbergloop) with some runners from the club on Sunday. It's a tough course which includes a climb of 180 stairs.

Today's Run: Noon - 4.5M @ 7:25 pace; PM - 9M including 9 x 600m w/ 200m recovery
Yesterday: 8M @ 6:59 pace

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Finally some sun

Today's run was nice as the clouds finally made way for the sun. I think it has been about a week since we had some sun. Did 15 this morning, one mile more than the last couple Sundays. I'll keep the long run right around 15 miles or 90-105 minutes for the next 2-3 weeks until I begin my train-up for Rotterdam.

1-7 Dec

Mon: 8 miles @ 6:56 pace
Tues: Noon - 6.2M @ 7:02 pace; PM - 8 miles including intervals 2000 (6:30), 1200 (3:48), 1600 (5:08), & 1200 (3:45)
Wed: 8 miles @ 7:18 pace
Thur: 10 miles @ 6:57 pace
Fri: 10.1 miles @ 6:47 pace with last 2 miles at 6:15 pace
Sat: 6 miles @ 7:07 pace; felt like crap and legs were tired
Sun: 15 miles @ 6:42 pace

Weekly Total: 71.3 miles

Friday, December 05, 2008

December races

Had to post this picture. It is a classic shot of Bekele celebrating once he crossed the finished to take gold in the 10Km at the Beijing Olympics.

Ran 10 today. Mostly easy with the last couple miles slightly faster. I was planning on running a cross race on Sunday, but changed my mind because there are certain races I'd like to run over the next few weeks. I'm planning to run Mescherbergloop (15km hilly trail race) next weekend and then Sylvesterloop on New Year's Eve with my Dutch training partner, Paul. The Sylvesterloop is a 10k race at night and is known for its fast course. Paul took 2nd in last year's race running 31:50. I'm really looking forward to Sylvesterloop because it'll be an opportunity to try for a 10k PR on an actual 10k course.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Messy runs

The last couple days of running have been quite messy. A good amount of snow dropped in yesterday morning almost completely covering the trails and running paths in the Brunssumerheide. So yesterday's training was a snow run. Today, the snow on the running paths melted making the trails all slushy and muddy. After 10 easy miles it looked as though I was wearing black tights with brown backing. I had a good run despite the toes being all numb from stepping into a few puddles. Hopefully the temperature will drop a bit to harden up the trails.

Today: 10M @ 6:57 pace
Wednesday: 8M @ 7:18 pace

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tough workout

A tough workout tonight on a slippery track. It rained earlier in the day, and with the temperature in the mid-30s the track became slippery in many places. Paul and I managed to get through the workout without any falls; however, there were a few times when I had to make wide turns on the curves just to prevent a slip and slide. The workout was quite similar to last week. We did 2000, 1200, 1600, and 1200 with 200 meter recovery, just like last week walking the first 100m and slow jogging the 2nd 100m. I called this workout the 5-3-4-3, basically the number of laps for the workout. The planned splits were 78-second laps for the 2000 and 1600, and 76-second laps for the 1200s. I think we both put on our inner-GPS because we were almost dead on with all our splits (see below). The split for the last 1200 was a bit faster because we decided to push the pace in the last lap (73 sec.). These long intervals are very tough mentally and physically, but it's a wonderful feeling and a sense of accomplishment once it's all done.

2000: 6:30
1200: 3:48
1600: 5:08
1200: 3:45

Today: Noon: 6.2M @ 7:03 pace; PM: 8M with long intervals (2000, 1200, 1600, 1200)
Yesterday: 8M @ 6:56 pace

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last week of November

Is anyone besides me wondering where November went? Could not believe how fast it went by.

I really didn't want to get out the door this morning in the cold and drizzling rain. Thought about putting the run off till the afternoon as the weather was forecasted for clear skies. But then I also wanted to have a free afternoon. I guess we can't always have it our way. I stopped being a whimp, put on my favorite Brooks jacket and was out the door for a 14-miler. After all, the conditions weren't all that bad. The drizzling rain stopped about 10 minutes into the run. I ran the first 5 miles at a steady pace, then alternated 1/4 miles at 5:45 pace and 7:00 pace for 4 miles, and then finished off the last 5 miles at steady pace. It was nice to mix things up rather than the normal Sunday long run.

24-30 Nov

Mon: 9M @ 6:53 pace
Tues: Noon: 5M easy at 7:18 pace; PM: 8M with intervals of 1600 (5:06), 1400 (4:28), 1200 (3:49), 1000 (3:03)
Wed: 8.2M @ 7:18 pace
Thur: 10.2M @ 7:02 pace
Fri: 8M @ 6:45 pace including 4 x 2' surges
Sat: 8M @ 6:58 pace
Sun: 14M @ 6:38 pace including 8 x 1/4 mile @ ~5:45 pace

Weekly Total: 70.4

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No Turkey Trot for me

It's Thanksgiving Day and I knew I was missing something. No, not the turkey but the turkey trot. The turkey trot, an American Thanksgiving tradition, is a fun run or race that is normally held on Thanksgiving Day or on the weekend before or after Thanksgiving Day. It is one of those races, similar to Jingle Bell Jogs, that I try to run every year. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is not celebrated here in the Netherlands so there was no chance of running in a turkey trot. This will most likely be the case for the next two years. Instead, I went for a nice easy 10+ mile run when the body finally woke up. It was a wonderful feeling to sleep in and not worry about the alarm clock going off. I felt energized and thought about doing some miles at steady-state pace, but the body and legs just felt like cruising at an easy pace. Sometimes you have to listen to the body. That's what I did running almost all the miles at 7min pace.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and be sure to burn off all those calories.

Today: 10.2M easy @ 7:02 pace
Wednesday: 8.2M easy @ 7:18 pace

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Track Day Tuesday

It's track day Tuesday so I linked up with the club after work. The coach alternates each week with short and long intervals. Last week we did short intervals of 300 meter repeats, so we were due for some longer intervals today. The workout was 1600, 1400, 1200 & 1000 each followed by 200 meter recovery, walking the 1st 100 meters and then slow jogging for the 2nd 100. As usual, Paul and I stuck together for the workout. Paul is a 40 yr old Dutchman who has ran some awesome PRs in his late 20's; sub-15 for 5k, sub-31 for 10k and 2:22 for the marathon. The guy is 40 yrs old but still has some speed, recently running low-16s for 5k. After Paul led us to a first lap of 73 seconds in the 1600, I decided to take over the pacing job or else we'd end up being a speed bump on the track. We took turns leading each lap, but I made sure that I did the pacing for the start of the remaining repeats. Splits for the workout are below. I was quite happy with how the workout went for me. The legs and body felt strong.

1600: 5:06
1400: 4:28
1200: 3:49
1000: 3:03

Today: Noon: 5M easy at 7:18 pace; PM: 8M with longer intervals (1600, 1400, 1200, 1000)
Monday: 9M @ 6:53 pace; got hammered by mixture of snow and sleet during my run.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

White Runs

The last couple runs to end the week have been in the cold white morning. I ran on the cycle paths through the farmlands, which was a beautiful scenery with all the grass and plants covered in snow. I didn't see much livestock out as I normally do. The only animals I saw were some black and brown sheep. If there was some white sheep then they did a good job of concealing themselves. The horses and cows must have been brought in to the stable.

This morning I headed out the door with the intent of running for 90 minutes, which on a regular training run should get me right around 13 miles. Mile 1 of the run was an unexpected 7:02. As easy as it felt I thought I'd see the first split around 7:30. The next 3 miles was an average pace of 6:45. Thinking that I had settled into a rhythm, mile 5 came across faster in 6:33. From then on my pace was consistent around the 6:33-6:36 range. I finished the run with 14 miles in 93 minutes. Here's how the week went down.

17-23 Nov

Mon: 8M easy at 6:59 pace
Tues: Noon: 4.3M easy @ 7:10 pace; PM: 8.25M including 13 x 300m w/ 100m recovery jogs; splits at 51-53; legs are fatigued
Wed: 7M easy @ 7:28 pace
Thur: 9.2M @ 6:58 pace
Fri: 9M @ 6:40 pace including 6 x 2' @ ~ 5:45 pace w/ 1' easy; felt good
Sat: 7M @ 6:50 pace
Sun: 14M steady @ 6:39 pace; very cold at 24 degrees; felt good.

Weekly Total: 66.7 miles

Friday, November 21, 2008

There is no such thing as bad weather, just....

"There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." - Bill Bowerman.

I thought about this quote as I looked out the window of my office around 11am. The sky was gray, it was cold and raining, fallen leaves were flying all over the place and bare trees were swinging left to right. The thought of running on the treadmill never crossed my mind. I was committed to get out for my run. I actually like to get out the door when the weather is bad, because I seem to think I'll become a stronger runner and that I'll be one of the very few out on a run. I wasn't surprised to come across only one runner during my hour-long run in the Brunssumerheide. There's normally a ton of co-workers running the trails during lunch hour, but I think the weather defeated them. My run was uneventful. I ran the first 30 minutes fairly easy and then did 6 x 2 min. at about 5:45 pace with 1 min. easy. The last 10 minutes of the run was the toughest as I ran directly against the wind.

I was planning on taking tomorrow off from running and go for a bike ride, but with the weather forecasted for snow showers in the morning and temps in the 20s I think I'm going to go for a short run instead.

Today's Run: 9M @ 6:40 pace including 6 x 2' @ ~ 5:45 pace w/ 1' easy

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today and yesterday's run was nice and easy in the Brunssumerheide (Brunssum heath), which is only a 1/4 mile from work. The heide, pronounced "hey-da", consists of heathland, forests, bogs, fens, dirt and sand trails, bridle trails and cycle paths. It is my favorite place to run here in The Netherlands. You can get in about 10-12 miles of running without overlapping trails. I was having a blast running the trails today. It rained last night and this morning, so the trails were quite muddy. At first I tried to avoid the mud puddles, but when a good-size chunk of cold slimy mud kicked up from the Asics and latched onto the calves I decided to care less about the conditions and just enjoy the run. Thinking back I'm not exactly sure if it was mud. It could have been some horse droppings as it is common to see some on the trails. Whatever it was I wasn't bothered because I found myself in a zone and cruised along the rest of the run. The back of my legs and shorts was almost all covered in mud, probably some droppings too.

Today's Run: 9.2M @ 6:58 pace
Wed: 7M very easy @ 7:28 pace

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


What I forgot to mention in the previous two or three posts was that I was able to run in the Seven Hills Run because one of the club members was injured. So, at the last moment the team leader did a bib-number transfer permitting me to run. Bib-numbers and race packets were mailed out a week prior to the race. The morning of the race I was given a race packet and was known as "Herman" for the day. Also, the funny thing was that my bib-number originally had an orange dot, which indicates the 4th starting coral (total of 5 corals). With 25,000 runners and a start in the Orange coral, it probably would have took me about 10 minutes to cross the start line. Thanks to an inkjet printer, some clear scotch tape and preparation by the team leader I was able line up behind Bekele and the elites by flashing the red color dot on my bib-number. During the race I couldn't help but laugh inside when spectators along the course were calling out and cheering for Herman. I guess my Dutch name is Herman.

The legs are feeling fatigue after tonight's speed session. It wasn't a smart decision on my part to do speedwork two days following a 15K race, also after running 8 easy miles yesterday and 4+ miles during lunch hour today. The workout tonight was 15 x 300 meters with 100 meter slow jogs for recovery. Paul and I took turns leading every other repeat. We consistently hit the first 10 repeats in 51-52. On the next couple repeats I started to feel the lactic acid in the legs and began to slow the already slow recovery. Ensuring not to overdo it Paul and the coach forced me to stop at the 13th repeat. I will take the rest of the week very easy.

Today's Run: Noon: 4.3M @ 7:10 pace; PM: 8.25M including 13 x 300m w/ 100m recovery jogs; splits at 51-53
Mon: 8M @ 6:59 pace


10-16 Nov

Mon: 8M easy
Tues: Noon - 4.2 @ 6:55 pace; 8.5M with 5 x 1000m (3:12, 3:11, 3:10, 3:10, & 3:07) w/ 200m recovery
Wed: 4.2M @ 7:06 pace
Thur: 9M @ 6:51 pace
Fri: 9.1M @ 6:55 pace
Sat: 6.2M @ 7:10 pace
Sun: Seven Hills Run 15K - 51:26, 75th Overall; 5k splits: 17:24, 17:09, 16:53.

Weekly Total: ~54 miles

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seven Hills Run 15K - 51:26 (PR)

A quick post.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Seven Hills Run was going to be a 15Km PR since it was the first time racing the distance. It was a satisfying PR as I crossed the finish line in 51:26 (net time) - 5:31 pace. Besides the first kilometer, which I spent weaving through runners, everything went well for me in the race. I felt like I was getting stronger as the race went on, even on the hills. The first 5k split was about 10 seconds slower than I had hoped for. I think it was a combination of a hill at 2km and weaving through runners early in the race. The good thing was that each 5k split was about 15 seconds faster. Splits are below and results here.

Distance / Time / Splits
5K: 17:24 (17:24)
10K: 34:33 (17:09)
15K: 51:26 (16:53)

Bekele did not break the record nor did he win. He was 3rd overall. There were talks that he had an ankle injury coming into the race. The highlight of the elite race was the women's field as Ethiopian Mestawat Tufa missed the world record by one second.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fact: Sunday's race will be PR

I'm really looking forward to this weekend's 15km race in Nijmegen. The course is supposedly fast despite the hills, hence the name "Seven Hills Loop". The 15km world record of 41:29 was set on this course in 2001 by Kenyan Felix Limo. I predict that Kenenisa Bekele will take over the record on Sunday. I've never raced an actual 15km race, but I plan to treat it as a 10-miler since it's only 800 meters shorter. For some reason, I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself and have high expectations to run well. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because my fall training and racing has gone very well. Maybe it's because I recently set new PRs in the half and full marathon and I'm expecting the same for the 15km distance (well, good or bad race it will be a PR for me). Or maybe it's because I still fill fit coming off of marathon recovery. Whatever it is I hope to have a good race. One thing for sure is that Tuesday's track workout gave me self-confidence that the leg-turnover and fitness is still there. The last three days were just easy running. I did throw in some surges in the run today to wake up the legs.

Here's a motivational video of the Husky ladies getting ready for NCAA West Regionals.

Today's Run: 9.1M @ 6:55 pace
Thurs: 9M @ 6:51 pace
Wed: 4.2M @ 7:06 pace

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting ready for Bekele

It was an unplanned double workout today. I went for a run during my lunch break at noon with the thoughts of running for an hour to include some fartlek running. About a mile into the run I remembered that I had a meeting to attend immediately following lunch. I wasn't sure of the exact time of the meeting, so I decided to forego the fartlek workout and just run easy for 30 minutes. I was ticked off when I got back to the office because the meeting was scheduled for 1400 (2pm civilian time). During the meeting I was feeling guilty for missing the fartlek workout, so I made the decision to run after work to get some leg-turnover. It then dawned on me that it was Tuesday, the night that the AV Unitas, a Dutch Running Club, meet up at the track for some speed workout. It has been almost two months since I last ran with the club. After a 20 minute warm-up followed by some stretching and drills, I waited for the coach to yell out the workout. 5 x 1000m with 200m recovery. This was my first speed session since the marathon, so I was unsure what splits to hit and how the legs would react. I decided that I'd just stay with Paul, who was aiming for 3:10-3:12. The legs felt light and springy and the breathing rather controlled. I hit the 5 x 1000m in 3:12, 3:11, 3:10, 3:10, & 3:07. It was a good feeling knowing that I still have some leg-turnover following the marathon and that my fitness is still at a decent level.

On another good note, the running club invited me to run as part of the club in this weekend's Fortis Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) in Nijmegen. The 15Km race is one of the biggest road races (~22,000 runners) in the Netherlands and is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, which basically means the Kenyans and Ethiopians will be battling it out at the front. Kenenisa Bekele will most likely win the race as he takes his first big step on the roads.

Today's Run: Noon: 4.2M @ 6:55 pace; PM: 8.5M with 5 x 1000m (3:12, 3:11, 3:10, 3:10, & 3:07) w/ 200m recovery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Training Partner

Since my arrival in the Netherlands about four months ago, many co-workers have told me that I must link up with the German runner, Jurgen. Many folks were talking about this guy like he was an elite athlete. About six weeks ago I finally bumped into Jurgen as I was coming back from a run and he was starting his. We talked about getting in a run together. But because of my recent travels to Germany and limited running during marathon recovery, I was not able to run with Jurgen until today. During the run we got to know each other talking about our background and running experience. It turns out that Jurgen was indeed an elite or sub-elite runner 15 years ago (he is 38 now). He has PRs of 14' for 5k, 29' for 10k, 1:04 for the half, and 2:18 for the marathon. He was quick to say that that was the past, but then I starting laughing when he said he currently "only" runs 10k in 31-32 minutes. Jurgen said he has pacing duties for a German female elite runner at the Hamburg Marathon in April. He has to pace her at least through 35K at sub-2:30 pace. Here I am dreaming of running sub-2:30 one day and he has to run sub-2:30 pace on a given day. Incredible! I am excited about training with Jurgen in the upcoming months. Hopefully, this will lead me to faster times in all distances.

Today's Run: 8 miles @ 6:42 pace

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Back to normal running

It feels great to be back into the swing of normal running. My marathon recovery phase is now complete. During this past week the legs felt great during the runs. The average pace for the runs was consistently under 7:00 pace at an easy effort. I did take one day off (Thursday) from running just to give the legs a break. It was also my travel day back to the Netherlands from Germany.

I currently don't have any scheduled races on the calendar. However, I do plan on running some shorter races (5k-10k) over the next few months. This Dutch event website lists a whole bunch of running events across the country. It also looks like many of them are cross country races. Awesome! No better time to run some XC races.

03-09 Nov

Mon: 7.3M @ 6:54 pace
Tues: 6.2M @ 6:32 pace; including 4 x 2' at approximately 1/2-marathon pace with 1' easy
Wed: 7.3M @ 6:53 pace
Thur: DNR
Fri: 9.1M @ 6:46 pace
Sat: 7.3M @ 6:55 pace
Sun: 11.3M @ 6:42 pace

Weekly Total: 48.5 miles

Monday, November 03, 2008

Birthday Run

Today was my 31st birthday. I celebrated it by going on an hour-long run, and then driving to Heidelberg, Germany to attend a work conference that will begin tomorrow and end on Thursday. I was motivated to get out this morning for a run after watching yesterday's NYC Marathon. For most of the run I visualized myself running in the footsteps of the elites in NYC. I dreamt that in my next marathon I'd run like Paula (except for the head-bobbing) increasing the pace and dropping my competitors one by one as the race went on. I dreamt about running another PR and a sub-2:30 in the near future. I dreamt about how hard I'm going to train for my next marathon (Rotterdam) in April. And then about the 5.5 mile mark of my run I stopped day-dreaming and thought about Ryan Shay. Shay's death during last year's Olympic Marathon Trials made me realize that we must enjoy each run we go out on as we'll never know if it'll be our last one. Every birthday run for me will include a remembrance of Ryan Shay.

For those who missed yesterday's race, you can still watch it on-demand at

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Easier said than done

I'm writing this post as I watch the NYC Marathon live on EuroSport. Good luck to everyone running NYC. Go Paula, Kara and Abdi!

In my last post I mentioned that I'll be alternating days of very easy running with complete days off. Apparently, that was easier said than done. I found myself itching to go for a run each day this week. To keep me sane I went on easy runs of 30-60 minutes with the exception of Friday, which I took completely off. The legs felt fresh and light during the runs. At this point, I think I'm somewhere around 80% recovered. One more week of easy running should complete my marathon recovery, then I'll go back to the basics of base training.

27 Oct-02 Nov

Mon: 4.1M @ 7:22 pace
Tues: 4.1M @ 7:29 pace
Wed: 5.1M @ 7:11 pace
Thur: 6.2M @ 7:05 pace
Fri: DNR
Sat: 6.4M @ 7:05 pace
Sun: 8.8M @ 6:51 pace

Weekly Total: 34.7M

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recovery / Wayne's European Marathon Tour

Week 1 of recovery is complete. The stiffness, soreness and fatigue in the legs have vanished. Recovery will continue the next couple weeks with alternating days of very slow easy runs and complete days off. Surprisingly the mind, body and legs don't seem to be in such a rush to train. I think this is due to the satisfaction of running a good time and PR. However, the recent race and PR has made me hungry to run faster. I'm already looking down the road to the next marathon in "Wayne's European Marathon Tour", which includes Amsterdam (completed), Rotterdam (04/05/09), Berlin (09/20/09), and London (APR 2010). These are just the must-do marathons as part of the WEMT; other marathons I have in mind include Athens (Greece), Paris (France), and Hamburg (Germany). Hopefully these marathons will be checked off by the end of my 3-yr assignment here in Europe.

20-26 Oct
Mon: big fat zero
Tues: another big fat zero; lots of stretching and core exercises
Wed: whopping 16 minutes of slow easy running; more stretching and core
Thur: enjoying the time off
Fri: 30 minutes of very slow and easy running
Sat: 20-mile easy bike ride
Sun: 30 minutes of very slow and easy running

Weekly Mileage: ~10 miles

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amsterdam Marathon - Race Report

During the last week leading to the marathon my legs and body were feeling great, fresh and recovered. I knew I was set to go. It was just a matter of getting to the start line and praying for some nice weather. The weather at start time was forecasted to be overcast, 52 degrees (F) and winds at 11-13mph. I was a bit worried about the winds.

The Amsterdam Marathon starts and finishes inside the Olympic Stadium (Amsterdam hosted the 1928 Olympics). The runners run about half a lap of the track before exiting the stadium and into the streets of Amsterdam. When the gun went off I immediately tried to settle into the right pace. I was anxiously waiting for the 1st kilometer mark to see how I was doing with pace. My goal pace coming into the race was to run sub-6:00 pace, specifically between 5:56 - 5:59 (min/mile) pace, which is equivalent to 3:41 - 3:43 per kilometer. I hit the 1st km in 3:41 feeling very comfortable. The next three kilometers went by right at 3:40-41 (5:54-5:56 pace). I knew that I should be hitting the 5k mark right around 18:30. I started to get concerned when my watch read 18:05 because I still couldn't see the 5k mark and timing map ahead. I thought that maybe I had slowed my pace on the 5th km so I started to pick up my pace. About 150 meters later I finally reached the 5k mark and clocked 19:01. I knew that couldn't be right. I then asked a couple runners if they thought the 5k mark was correct and they said it was about 30 seconds too long. I found out after the race that the 5k marker and timing mat was placed 200 meters too far. So I ended up running 5.2k in 19:01 - 5:53 pace, definitely not my planned pace.

Shortly after crossing the 10k mark in 36:37, I took in my first power gel. For the first time in all my marathons I took in a power gel this early in the race. I normally take in my first gel around mile 10 or at the half-marathon mark. This time I think I planned this energy gel thing out perfectly. I carried 4 gels taking in one at each of the 10k mark (i.e. 10k, 20k, 30k) and the last one at about the 38k-39k mark.

I was cruising along running my own race, and not with a pack, until I reached the Amstel River around 12k. I was now running into the wind. I decided it was time to run with a pack so that I could draft off someone. The only problem was that I wasn’t too close to any runner. There was a pack about 50 meters behind me and about 3 runners 15 meters ahead. I tried to make my way up to the three runners but that seemed to take forever. By the time I got closer to them I reached the halfway mark, which I crossed in 1:17:34. I honestly was a bit surprised to see 1:17:xx. At that point I could see more runners ahead, which motivated me to catch up to them. I’d focus on one runner, catch him, then focus on another runner and catch him too. I did this from the halfway mark to about 30k. This catch up game was the reason behind a 36:11 (5:49 pace) 10k split (20k-30k).

I think I ended up paying the price for that last 10k split because fatigue started to settle in the legs with about 7k (~35k mark) to go. Not having anyone to run with made running even harder. The crowd was what really kept me fighting during the 35k to 40k stretch. The 41k mark was situated at a turn which then takes the runners through a half mile stretch of road before entering the Olympic stadium. When I made the turn at 41k I saw an Ethiopian female elite runner. I knew I was capable of catching her so I tried to pick up the pace. I caught her just as I made the turn toward the entrance of the Olympic stadium. When I entered the stadium I saw the 200M to go sign and the timing clock at 2:34:55. I already knew it was a PR, but I didn’t want to settle for just a PR. I wanted the PR to be as low as possible so I gave it my all. I ended up running the last 1.2km in 4:24 (5:54 pace). Finishing time was 2:35:37 (5:56 pace), 43rd Overall. It was an awesome feeling finishing the marathon in the historical Olympic stadium. I am extremely proud to be a sub-6:00 marathoner. Here are video clips of me finishing the race and crossing the various 5k splits. Splits below.





5.2 Km




10 Km




15 Km




20 Km




1/2 Marathon




25 Km




30 Km




35 Km




40 Km




42.2 Km



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Amsterdam Marathon: 2:35:37 (PR)

I had a very good race running 2:35:37 (5:56 pace), 43rd place overall. It was a PR of 2min and 39sec. Results are posted here. I had a good chance of running sub-2:35, but there was lots of wind out there and I found myself running alone for a long stretch in the late stages of the race. My splits for the halves were 1:17:34 and 1:18:03 respectively. Race report to follow soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Excited and Nervous

It's hard to believe that race day is only a few days away. I'm excited but also nervous at the same time. Today, I ran my last tune-up workout for the marathon, cruise intervals of 4 x 1K with 200m recovery. Splits for the 1K's were 3:20, 3:15, 3;17, & 3:16. It was tough to hold back because the legs were feeling fresh and light. I think this tapering phase, or peaking phase as McMillan calls it, has gone very well. I've decreased the volume but maintained the intensity, which I beleive has kept my legs from feeling stale or flat from the significant reduction of mileage. All that remains now are a few days of short and easy runs, then it's game on!

The Amsterdam Marathon will be my first big marathon race since the 2006 Rocket City Marathon, almost two years ago. I did run Grandma's Marathon back in June; however, I pretty much ran it as a longggg run because I only had about 4 weeks of training and was coming off an injury. I was not able to run a marathon in 2007 because I spent the entire year (and 1/4 of 2008) in Iraq. This weekend's marathon will get me back on track with running a marathon or two each year. Hopefully, faster times too. Marathon history here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One More Week Till Race Day

Just one week remains before I toe the line at the ING Amsterdam Marathon. This week's taper went very well. The legs are starting to freshen up with the decrease in mileage. Today, I ran the normal "last Sunday workout" before race day. The workout was 12 miles with the last 6 miles at about marathon pace. From the track I ran 3 miles easy out and back in the city of Sittard. After averaging 6:42 pace for the first six miles I continued on the track running the remaining six miles at 5:57, 5:48, 5:55, 5:54, 5:55, & 5:49. The pace was a few seconds faster than what I consider marathon pace, but the body and legs felt comfortable. I think this week will be the toughest as it is normally the time when self-doubt creeps in.

06-12 Oct

Mon: 6M at 7:01 pace
Tues: 8M at 6:55 pace including 6 x :30 strides with 1' easy
Wed: 11M at 6:32 pace including 3 x 2K (6:59, 6:53, 6:52) with 400m recovery
Thur: AM - 5M at 7:09 pace; PM - 5M at 6:55 pace
Fri: 5M at 7:10 pace
Sat: 7M at 6:55 pace
Sun: 12M at 6:18 pace including last 6 miles at ~MP; last 6M at 5:57, 5:48, 5:55, 5:54, 5:55, & 5:49.

Weekly Total: 59 miles

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The tapering begins

I had a very good last long run today. I ran to the Linderhof Palace, 9 miles one way, from my hotel. Not only was it awesome running on the trails, the scenery of the mountains was picture perfect. It snowed in the mountains a couple days ago, so it made for a nice scenic run. A few times during the run I almost ran off the trail because my eyes would get locked in to the white mountain peaks. The run itself went very well. I averaged 6:09 pace for the last 9 miles and 6:27 pace for the whole run. I'll officially begin my taper.

29 Sep - 05 Oct

Mon: AM - 4M easy at 7:28 pace; PM - 8M at 7:00 pace (12M total)
Tues: 10.5M at 6:41 pace including 10 x 1' hard/easy.
Wed: 3.1M very easy at 7:21 pace
Thur: AM - 5.4M at 7:07 pace; PM - 12M at 6:26 pace with 2 x 2.5M tempo (14:24, 14:22); (17.4M total)
Fri: 10M at 6:42 pace
Sat: 8M at 7:00 pace
Sun: 18M at 6:27 pace; last 9 miles at 6:09 pace

Weekly Total: 79 miles

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Feeling the effects of altitude

As I was on an easy run on Monday I could feel that my breathing was a bit discomforting, the pace somewhat slower and the heart-rate about 10 bpm higher than normal. I was beginning to think that something was wrong. A few miles into the run my eyes and mind drifted away taking in the sights of the surrounding mountains. It was at that point in which I realized I was running at a higher altitude. The elevation here in the lower part of Oberammergau is 2800ft, a significant difference compared to the 300ft elevation of the area I live in in the Netherlands.

The week so far:
Tuesday was a 10 mile run with 10 x 1' strides. I usually get down to about 4:40-4:45 pace toward the end of the minute strides, but because of the altitude I could only manage to get the pace down to about 4:53. It's obvious that the half-mile high elevation has an effect on the body. On Wednesday morning I only put in 3 miles because I had planned to run more in the afternoon. However, I forgot that I was taking a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest, so the planned 6-8 miles did not happen. Today was a double with an easy five in the morning and twelve in the afternoon which included 2 x 2.5M at tempo pace. Because of the altitude I tried to run at the same effort, instead of pace, as last week's 3-mile tempos. I averaged about 5:45 pace (14:24, 14:22) for the 2.5M tempos. The remainder of the week will be easy running to reach 75 miles.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's downhill from here

I was planning to take a complete day off from running after yesterday's 20-miler and a long seven hour drive to the artistic city of Oberammergau, Germany. But when I arrived in town and saw a dirt trail right outside of my hotel, I could not resist running. So I went for an easy short 4+ miles taking in the beautiful scenery. I discovered numerous running trails which runs along the river and through the mountains. I'll have the opportunity to run them during my two-week stay. After the easy run I treated my legs to a torturing ice-bath in the river. The first few minutes of the ice-bath (outside temp was 48 deg F) was unbearable. However, the legs felt refreshed ten minutes later.

Yesterday's long run was the last 20-miler for this marathon training cycle. Instead of a steady long run, I mixed things up by adding some marathon pace running. I ran the first 6 miles steady in 40:12 (6:42 pace) then the next 6 miles (7-12) alternating 1/2 miles at approximately marathon pace with steady running at about 6:45-6:50 pace. I'd hit the 1/2 miles in 2:55-2:58 and finish the remaing half miles in about 3:25. I then ran the remaining 8 miles steady averaging 6:25 pace with the last mile in 5:58. The legs were certainly tired in the end. I don't blame them though because they went through three hard workouts with only one easy day between them, and that was following a 100-mile week. Now with only 3 weeks remaining before the marathon, it's time to decrease the mileage and begin tapering for Amsterdam.

22-28 Sep

Mon: Noon - 4M easy at 6:57 pace; PM - 8M at 7:00 pace (12M total)
Tues: 8M with intervals of 1K (3:12), 1200 (3:51), 1K (3:10), 1200 (3:48), & 1K (3:04) with 200m recovery.
Wed: Noon - 3.5M easy at 7:21 pace; PM - 5.5M at 6:55 pace (9M total)
Thur: Noon - 5M at 7:05 pace; PM - 13M with 2 x 3-mile tempos (16:14, 16:04); (18M total)
Fri: Noon - 6.5M at 7:01 pace; pm - 8.5M at 6:52 pace; (15M total)
Sat: 20M at 6:29 pace; including 6 x 1/2 mile at MP followed by 1/2 mile steady pace.
Sun: 4.3M easy at 7:13 pace

Weekly Total: 86.3 miles

Thursday, September 25, 2008

3-Mile Tempos

In the past weeks of training I ran my key workouts (intervals, tempo, & MP workout) on Tuesdays and Fridays with the long run on Sundays. I decided to modify this week's schedule to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday due to my scheduled road trip to Germany on Sunday. Tuesday's workout was longer intervals of 1K, 1200, 1K, 1200, & 1K with 200m recovery. My legs felt flat for the most part but I still managed a decent speed session. Splits were 3:12, 3:51, 3:10, 3:48, and 3:04 respectively.

Today's workout (2 x 3-mile tempo) was much better. It is the same workout I did three weeks ago, in which I averaged 5:33 & 5:28 for the 3-milers. This time around I was aiming to average 5:28 for both 3-milers. Not sure if I was just having a good day or if there was a slight improvement in fitness over the last few weeks (hopefully the latter) because I would have had to slow the pace a bit to average 5:28 pace. I finish the 3-mile tempos in 16:14 (5:25 pace) and 16:04 (5:21 pace). I was a bit inconsistent in the mile splits of the first tempo - 5:27, 5:20, & 5:27. The 2nd tempo was more even paced with mile splits at 5:19, 5:22, & 5:23. Here's the comparison of the 5-Sep workout with today's.

05-SEP: 16:38 (5:31, 5:33, 5:34); 16:24 (5:26, 5:31, 5:27)
25-SEP: 16:14 (5:27, 5:20, 5:27); 16:04 (5:19, 5:22, 5:23)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nailing the long run

With only 4 weeks remaining till Amsterdam marathon I felt that I was lacking a long run of over 20 miles. The three Sundays before last weekend's race I put in 20, 20 and 18 miles for the long run so I was definitely due to get over the hump. Today's plan was to cruise at a steady relaxing pace at about 6:35-6:45 for the entire 22 miles. By the 2nd mile I was already at a 6:40 split which felt very easy. At miles 5-7 the pace was down to 6:25. After the 7th mile, my mind, body and legs seemed to settle into its rhythm. I was clicking off each mile between 6:10-6:20 pace, well, except for the last mile. I ran the last 15 miles in 1:33:31 (6:14 pace). I wanted to finish strong and confident so I ran the last mile a bit faster than goal MP pace ending with a 5:50 22nd mile. The overall pace for the 22-mile long run was 6:21 (2:19:41). I certainly like where I'm at with my overall fitness. If I could just manage to get in a few good workouts and decent weekly mileage over the next couple weeks then I think I should be ready to go for hopefully a marathon PR. This coming week will be tough to get in the mileage as I'll be very busy with work and traveling to Germany in the weekend.

15-21 Sep

Mon: Noon - 6.5M @ 6:56 pace; PM - 8.5M @ 6:53 pace (15M total)
Tues: AM - 4M easy @ 7:22 pace; PM - 12M @ 6:53 pace (16M total)
Wed: Noon - 7M @ 6:51 pace including 15 x :30 strides w/ 1' easy; PM - 7.2M @ 6:48 pace (14.2M total)
Thur: Noon - 5M @ 7:05 pace; PM - 7.3M @ 6:53 pace (12.3M total)
Fri: 12M with 8 miles at MP; 5:52, 5:53, 5:53, 5:49, 5:54, 5:51, 5:48, & 5:45 (46:45 - 5:51 pace)
Sat: 9M @ 6:49 pace
Sun: 22M @ 6:21 pace

Weekly Total: 100.5 miles

Friday, September 19, 2008

Marathon Pace

I expected the legs to feel slightly fatigue or sore following Sunday's half-marathon because it was the first time racing since June. When Monday came around there was no soreness in the legs so I drove on with training. Mon and Tues was easy, Wed was a fartlek, and Thurs was another easy run. Today's planned workout was 8 miles at marathon goal pace, which (to be honest) I'm unsure of. According to Jack Daniel's Running Formula and McMillan Calculator, my recent 1/2-marathon time is equivalent to a 2:35 marathon, about 5:56 pace. I see JD formula and McMillan's cacl to be somewhat reliable; of course, that's considering we're doing the right training. After a couple miles of warm-up I tried to run at what felt like MP pace. The split for the 1st mile was 5:52. I tried to slow the pace just a bit on the 2nd mile but managed only to add on a second, 5:53. For the next four miles the pace seemed to hover around the low to mid 5:50s. I was feeling comfortable, maybe too comfortable, at six so I decided to pick up the pace for the last couple miles. Splits for the workout were 5:52, 5:53, 5:53, 5:49, 5:54, 5:51, 5:48, & 5:45 (46:45 - 5:51 pace). It was a nice confidence booster to finish the workout knowing I could have gone longer.

Here's the training log for last week.

08-14 Sep

Mon: Noon - 7M @ 6:55 pace; PM 6.5M @ 7:06 pace (13.5M total)
Tues: 10M @ 6:41 pace
Wed: Noon - 6.5M @ 6:50 pace; PM - 10M including 6 x 1Km w/ 200m easy; splits: 3:22, 3:16, 3:16, 3:14, 3:14, & 3:15 (16.5M total)
Thur: 8M @ 6:56 pace
Fri: Noon - 5.25M @ 7:03 pace; PM - 6M @ 7:02 pace;
Sat: 3M very easy; 5 hours on the feet (walking and biking Rotterdam)
Sun: Fortis 1/2 Marathon Rotterdam - 1:13:39 (PR)

Weekly Total: 76 miles

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fortis 1/2 Marathon Rotterdam: 1:13:39 (PR)

Day before the race
I neglected to do the necessary preparation such as finding how to get to the registration and race site, and even having a pre-race strategy (resting, where and what to eat, etc.). After checking in to the hotel around noon I went on a mission to find out more info on the race. I packed up my bike just before leaving the house knowing that it would be easier to get around the 2nd-most populated city in the Netherlands. About thirty minutes on the bike I finally found the VVV tourist information and was told that everything from late registration to packet pickup took place on the morning of race day. I thought that since I'm already in the heart of Rotterdam I might as well take a tour of the city. Fast forward..... I took the VVV-recommended walking tour (2 hours), biked the city cycle-route (~45 min.) and spent some time at a festival. So about 4:30pm I decided to head back to the hotel to give the legs some rest. Well, I ended up finding my hotel another 30 minutes later because smart-me only had a city map which did not cover streets to my hotel. Funny thing is that the hotel was only an 8-minute walk from the centrum. At that point my legs were feeling a bit stale, so I decided to go for a short 25 minute run hoping it will feel better. After a nice shower and some relaxing, I rode my bike back into the centrum to get something to eat. I wasn't up for the typical two hour three course Dutch meal so I stopped by a pizzeria near the festival and ordered a delicious Hawaiian medium pizza. I had planned to eat it back at the hotel, but that was modified to stand-and-eat when I came across a fashion and modeling show. I called it the night around 9pm.

Race day
Pre-race meal: Marathon Snicker bar, peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, & gatorade. Temperature: 52 degrees at 10am. The race has two half-marathons; one that starts at 11:00 and labeled Fortis 1/2 Marathon Elite and the other which starts 50 minutes later and labeled Fortis 1/2 Marathon. At about 10:45 I found out the 11:50 start was a "fun run". Don't ask me what the difference is. So I made my way to the 11:00 start, but was stopped because I had a 4-digit bib number "3406". All the other runners at the start had a one, two or three-digit bib number as well as the same number pinned on the back of their singlet. I was finally let into the start line when the race director asked me what my goal time was and told him that I run around 1:14-1:15. I felt a bit intimidated because here I was lined up with only about 100 runners, mostly Africans and Europeans.

The gun went off just as I was about to turn on the GPS on my Forerunner 405. This was a mental breakdown because now I would have no clue what mile splits I'd be running. Remember that European races use kilometers and not miles. I tried to calculate my pace in the first few kilometers, but that turned out to be a difficult task. I hit the 5k mark in 17:25, which I figured would be somewhere just under 5:40 pace. I knew coming into the race that my PR was at 1:15:42 (5:47 pace) so I was already in unknown territory. To be honest, I was really just trying to stay with the pack of runners. I didn't want to be the last runner especially that I had an odd bib number and none on the back. Approaching the 10k mark I could see the timer closing in at 35 minutes. Crossed 10k in 34:59 (10k PR is 34:58). I was feeling very good and wanted to pick up the pace, but knew I still had another 10k+ remaining. At about 12-13k it seemed like the pace was slowing a bit. Noone in our pack of about 10 was interested in picking up the pace, so I decided to. I put in a little surge and noone followed. I then began my mission of picking off runners who where within distance. Within 3 kilometers I managed to pass 3 runners. 15k was 52:38. Interestingly, my 16k split was 56:14 and equates to a 56:30 10-miler, a few seconds faster than my 10M PR. At 18k I could not believe that I still had something left in the legs. I somehow managed to run the last 6.1k faster than any 5k split in the race. I crossed the finish in 1:13:44. Chip time was 1:13:39, a 2-minute PR. Splits below and complete results here. I'm wondering what I could have ran had the legs been a bit more rested. Maybe the secret is not to rest the day before the race.

5k: 17:25 (17:25 - 5:36 pace)
10k: 34:59 (17:34 - 5:39 pace)
15k: 52:38 (17:39 - 5:41 pace)
21.1k: 1:13:44 (21:06 - 5:34 pace)

Monday, September 08, 2008

The leg has a mind of its own

It seems like the legs know when to respond. They tend to feel flat and not interested in running on the easy days, but on the key workout days it's game on. Yesterday was a prime example. Before I got out the door I thought that it was going to be a two hour struggle. A few miles into the long run the legs got into that enjoyable feeling of cruise control. I was clicking off 6:25-6:30 pace after 5 miles like it was a stroll in the park. Hopefully, the legs will play and respond (but at at a faster pace) this coming Sunday as I plan to run my first race in the Netherlands, a 25K as part of the Mergelland Marathon in the municipality of Meerssen. It will be a tough race as the course is supposedly hilly.

Last week's training:
1-7 Sep

Mon: Noon - 6.6M (47:40 - 7:13 pace); PM - 6.6M (47:23 - 7:11 pace)
Tues: Noon - 7M (50:16 - 7:11 pace); PM - 10.4M (1:08:34 - 6:36 pace) including 12 x 1' hard/easy; legs very tired.
Wed: 11M (1:14:41 - 6:47 pace)
Thur: Noon - 7M (49:11 - 7:02 pace); PM - 8M (55:58 - 7:00 pace)
Fri: 12M including 2 x 3M tempo in 16:38 & 16:24; 2' rest in between tempo
Sat: 10M (1:09:14 - 6:55 pace)
Sun: 18M (1:58:56 - 6:36 pace) steady long run; last 13 miles in 1:24 flat.

Weekly Total: 96.6 miles

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fighting through fatigue

Throughout the week the legs felt heavy, flat and tired. I sort of expected it as I came off a 100-mile week last week, which was followed by 13 on Mon, 17 on Tues, 11 on Wed and 15 yesterday. The runs were doubles with the exception of Wednesday's. Tuesday's workout also included a fartlek run of 12 x 1' hard/easy.

The workout I had planned for the day was 3 x 2-mile tempo at 5:36-5:40 pace with 2' rest in between. After a 3-mile warm-up and a few strides I circled the track hoping that the legs would have some pop in it. When I hit the first mile in 5:31 and the legs feeling okay, I thought to myself that it just might be a good day for the legs. A couple laps later (about 1.5 miles into the tempo) I began questioning myself whether I should be running 3 x 2-mile tempo or 2 x 3-mile tempo. The two workouts may produce the same results, but I was easily convinced that the longer tempo would be more beneficial for marathon training. The 3-mile tempo is not only a tougher workout physically, but also mentally. I'm sure marathoners would agree that mental fitness is as important as physical fitness during marathon training and the actual race. I ended up having a good workout. I ran the 3-mile tempo runs in 16:38 (5:31, 5:33, 5:34) and 16:24 (5:26, 5:31, 5:27), an average pace of 5:33 and 5:28. I'm very satisfied the legs held up after battling fatigue throughout the week.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just go with the flow

That's basically what I did in today's long run. The plan was to go 18 miles or 2 hours. Going into the run the legs felt okay, definitely not fresh or rested. As I strolled on the cycle path the Forerunner split my first mile in 6:48. This is about 30 seconds faster than what I normally hit the first mile in my daily runs. I thought that I shouldn't worry too much about pace if it feels easy and relaxed. The 2nd mile split at 6:26 so I decided to just go with the flow. I settled into a good rhythm at low-6:30ish pace for the next 7 miles. To my surprise the pace slowly increased (i.e. faster) for the remainder of the run. I ended up doing 20 miles in 2:08:40, a little over 2 minutes faster than last week's 20-miler. The 5-mile splits for the long run were 32:56 (6:35), 32:35 (6:31), 31:46 (6:21), and 31:23 (6:16). An average pace of 6:26 for the 20-miler.

It was a good run to end the week. In fact, I hit the magical 100 mile/week. I'll have to look back on the logs because I don't recall the last time I had a 100-mile week. Here's a recap of this week's training.

25-31 Aug

Mon: Noon - 6M (42:50 - 7:08 pace); PM - 6.1M (43:20 - 7:07 pace) easy run; 12.1M total
Tues: Noon - 4.2M (30:44 - 7:19 pace); PM - 7M with 1200 & 1K intervals (1200s = 3:44, 3:43, 3:46; 1K - 3:02, 3:02); 11.2M total
Wed: Noon - 7.1M (50:01 - 7:03 pace); PM - 9.2M (1:02:05 - 6:46 pace) surprisingly the HR was consistent in the mid to high 130s at 6:40ish pace; 16.3M total
Thur: Noon - 7M (48:34 - 6:56 pace); PM - 9M (1:01:58 - 6:53 pace); 16M total
Fri: Noon - 6.2M (44:07 - 7:06 pace) easy but legs felt crappy; PM - 10M (1:02:40 - 6:17 pace) including 6 mile tempo in 34:32 (5:45 pace); 16.2M total
Sat: 9.4M (1:05:44 - 7:01 pace) was only planning on 6 miles but it turned into 9+ miles.
Sun: 20M (2:08:40 - 6:26 pace) steady pace; 5-mile splits: 32:56 (6:35), 32:35 (6:31), 31:46 (6:21), and 31:23 (6:16)

Weekly Total: 101.2 miles

Friday, August 29, 2008

Planned workout gone out the window

There are just about 7 weeks of training that remains before the marathon. I'm pretty happy with where I'm at in my fitness. Today, I decided to get on the track to practice some marathon pace. I was sort of concerned about the workout (6 miles at MP), because I had no clue how the legs would respond. The last couple days I had put in 32 miles (16 on Wed & Th); this was following the track workout on Tuesday. Also, I had just finished running 10 km during my lunch hour. The goal was to hit the mile splits at 6:00 pace. After a couple miles of warm-up, I headed off for the first of twenty-four laps. I looked at my watch just as I hit the 400m mark and saw 1:22. I could not believe it. The pace felt very comfortable, but a bit too fast. From there on I decided to just go with the pace which felt comfortable. Feeling relaxed I came through the mile in 5:49. It seemed like the legs were in cruise control as I followed through the next 4 miles in 5:52, 5:47, 5:47, and 5:46. Feeling unreasonably good I made the decision to pick up the pace in the last couple laps finishing off the 6th mile in 5:31. The workout ended up being more of a tempo workout (on the slower end) versus a marathon pace workout. Okay, the initial plan of marathon pace went out the window, but it was still a good workout.

Today's run: Noon - 6.2M (44:07 - 7:06 pace) easy but legs felt crappy; PM - 10M (1:02:40 - 6:17 pace) including 6 mile tempo in 34:32 (5:45 pace).

Yesterday: Noon - 7M (48:34 - 6:56 pace); PM - 9M (1:01:58 - 6:53 pace)

Wed: Noon - 7.1M (50:01 - 7:03 pace); PM - 9.2M (1:02:05 - 6:46 pace) surprisingly the HR was consistent in the mid to high 130s at 6:40ish pace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A streak of Tuesday track intervals

Today was the second consecutive Tuesday linking up with the Dutch runners at the Sittard-Geleen track for intervals. The running group is coached by an older guy (Will - about mid-40s) who has a marathon PR of 2:25, so I'd say he knows how to coach. After a couple miles of warming up we do some stretching followed by drills, some of which I'd never done. Will yells out in Dutch the workout for the day. Just as I give him the lost-man's look he begins to explain the workout to me in English. The Dutch people speak fairly good English, so it's easy to carry on a conversation. Will tells me the workout: 1200, 1000, 1200, 1000, 1200 - each followed by 200m recoveries. Immediately, I try to calculate what I should be running the 1200 and 1K intervals in. With the legs feeling a bit heavy from the 20-miler on Sunday and 12 miles yesterday I thought I'd shoot for 3:50 for 1200 and 3:10 for 1K. I end up running the workout in 3:44, 3:02, 3:43, 3:02, & 3:46. It was a good workout, but the legs were certainly done.

Today's run: Noon - 4.2M (30:44 - 7:19 pace); PM - 7M with 1200 & 1K intervals (1200s = 3:44, 3:43, 3:46; 1K - 3:02, 3:02); 11.2M total

Yesterday's run: Noon - 6M (42:50 - 7:08 pace); PM - 6.1M (43:20 - 7:07 pace) easy run; 12.1M total

Sunday, August 24, 2008

8 Weeks till Amsterdam Marathon

I'm finally situated and have internet access so I hope to post updates more frequently. Training the past three weeks has been fairly good. Felt good in today's long run as I was cruising along at 6:30ish pace after 4 miles. Oh, I'm officially entered for the Amsterdam Marathon on 19 October. The Dutch runners I linked up with on Tuesday's track workout all claim that the Amsterdam course is fast. I must not forget that the training must be put in first.

Here's the training log for the last 3 weeks.

18 - 24 Aug

Mon: 8.4M (58:20 - 6:58 pace)
Tues: AM - 5M (35:54 - 7:11 pace) short and easy run
Tues: PM - 7M including track workout; 4 x 300 (46, 49, 46, 49) + 5 x 400 (68, 68, 70, 70, 68) + 4 x 300 (50, 50, 51, 51); my first speed workout on the track in ages. legs were done in the end.
Wed: AM - 4.2M (31:18 - 7:27 pace) very easy; legs tired from yesterday's track workout
Wed: PM - 9.1M (1:02:31 - 6:52 pace)
Thur: AM - 8.4M (57:24 - 6:50 pace) easy on trails
Thur: PM - 6.6M (46:33 - 7:05 pace) easy run
Fri: 11.1M (1:13:06 - 6:35 pace) including 5 x 2' at 5k pace with 1' easy
Sat: 7.2M (50:37 - 7:01 pace)
Sun: 20M (2:10:56 - 6:33 pace) steady long run; last 10 miles in 64:02 (6:24 pace);

Weekly Total: 87 miles


11 - 17 Aug

Mon: AM - 6.5M (44:07 - 6:47 pace)
Mon: PM - 4.3M (29:25 - 6:50 pace)
Tues: AM - 9.1M (59:49 - 6:33 pace) including fartlek 12 x 1' hard/easy
Tues: PM - 6.1M (41:19 - 6:49 pace)
Wed: 5.5M (39:11 - 7:07 pace) short and easy
Thur: AM - 10.1M (1:05:14 - 6:28 pace) middle 4 miles at 5:50 pace
Thur: PM - 6.6M (45:43 - 6:57 pace) easy; legs felt a bit heavy
Fri: AM - 7.5M (52:35 - 7:00 pace)
Fri: PM - 7M (47:41 - 6:48 pace)
Sat: 11M (1:13:53 - 6:43 pace) easy with a couple miles at 6:00 pace
Sun: 15.1M (1:36:22 - 6:23 pace) long run with miles 7-12 at 6:02 pace.

Weekly Total: 88.8 miles


04 - 10 Aug

Mon: AM - 9M (1:01:44 - 6:51 pace)
Mon: PM - 6.3M (46:17 - 7:21 pace)
Tues: Did not run
Wed: Did not run
Thur: AM - 8.1M (55:28 - 6:50 pace)
Thur: PM - 10M (1:04:15 - 6:25 pace) progression run; last 5 miles in 31:19 with the last mile in 5:43
Fri: AM - 8.6M (1:00:27 - 7:01 pace)
Fri: PM - 8.4M (1:00:05 - 7:10 pace) easy run on treadmill
Sat: 10M (1:07:03 - 6:42 pace) mostly easy with the last 4 miles progressively faster
Sun: AM - 16M (1:47:26 - 6:42 pace) steady long run
Sun: PM - 7M (48:07 - 6:52 pace)

Weekly Total: 83.4 miles

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands. South Limburg, the southern-most Dutch province, will be called home for the next three years. The region is beautiful and offers a great deal of places to run and bike. It's a runner's dream place to run with tons of trails. Unfortunately, there are not much runners as cyclists. I’m lucky if I cross paths with another runner during my runs.

Here’s how the last 3 weeks of training went.

14 - 20 Jul
A frustrating week of running as the right ITB and knee was acting up again, probably from all the pounding on asphalt and concrete over the past couple weeks.

Mon: DNR; giving the ITB and knee some rest
Tues: 6.5M (48:39 – 7:29 pace)
Wed: 7.1M (50:03 – 7:04 pace)
Thur: 7.3M (51:04 – 7:00 pace)
Fri: 8.6M (1:00:48 – 7:04 pace)
Sat: 5M (37:55 – 7:35 pace); still feeling some pain on the right leg.
Sun: DNR;

Weekly Total: 34.5 miles on 5 runs/5 days

21 - 27 Jul
Lots of flying early in the week. The 2nd half of the week of running went well. Trying to get in more double runs. The right leg felt fine this week. Hitting the core exercises hard again.

Mon: DNR; an entire day of flying from Guam to NC.
Tues: 7.5M (52:15 - 6:58 pace); easy run + 3 x hills
Wed: DNR - travel day to the Netherlands
Thur: 9.3M (1:06:10 - 7:07 pace)
Fri: AM - 6.5M (45:33 - 7:00 pace) lots of core and stretching
Fri: PM - 6.2M (42:36 - 6:52 pace)
Sat: AM - 9.1M (1:04:10 - 7:03 pace) drills and core exercises
Sat: PM - 7.1M (50:02 - 7:01 pace) on treadmill; weights and core
Sun: AM - 13.5M (1:34:17 - 6:58 pace)
Sun: PM - 4.5M (33:12 - 7:22 pace) very easy

Weekly Total: 63.7 miles on 8 runs/5 days

28 Jul – 03 Aug
A much better week of running. Almost an increase of 30 miles each of the last couple weeks. Definitely not a mileage increase I’d normally do, but I think the base fitness is there.

Mon: AM - 9M (1:03:31 – 7:03 pace)
Mon: PM - 3.5M (24:45 – 7:04 pace) on treadmill and core afterwards
Tues: AM – 10M (1:07:44 – 6:46 pace) with 10 x 1’ fartlek w/ 1' easy
Tues: PM – 5M (37:26 – 7:25 pace) easy run; core exercises
Wed: 9.5M (1:06:43 – 7:01 pace); drills, strides and core afterwards
Thur: AM – 10M (1:07:54 – 6:47 pace) avg'd 6:26 pace for last 4 miles
Thur: PM- 6.4M (45:00 – 7:01 pace)
Fri: PM - 8M (54:31 – 6:48 pace) last couple miles at 6:20 & 5:50
Sat: 8.7M (1:01:13 – 7:02 pace)
Sun: AM – 16.2M (1:48:47 – 6:42 pace) last 5.2 miles at 6:34 pace
Sun: PM – 4.7M (33:01 - 7:01 pace) easy; core afterwards

Weekly Total: 91 miles on 11 runs/ 7 days

Friday, July 18, 2008

Running on different surfaces

I've been taking this week a bit easier on mileage after feeling some tightness and lingering twinges on my right ITB following Sunday's run. I feel that the right leg is only about 80-85% healthy since the injury. On Monday I gave the legs a break from running. Since then I've kept my runs at about 50-60 minutes while running on different surfaces. Ran on the treadmill on Tuesday, beach on Wednesday, track on Thursday and mostly on grass today. Tuesday and today's run was lovely as I took in the beautiful scenery of Guam's water.

View of Tumon Bay from Two Lover's Point

Yesterday's run on the track was fun. Instead of just circling the track at an easy pace, I decided to add a little speed with some circuit training. After 20' of easy running I did 400s at 5k pace with some core exercises (pushups, situps, crunches, leg-raises, etc.) and plyometric drills between each 400. Did only 7 x 400s as I didn't want to aggravate the ITB. Splits (80, 80, 79, 78, 77, 78, & 80) were fairly consistent at about 5:20 pace

Monday, July 14, 2008

Missing the running trails.

It has been a successful last couple weeks of running. Following a week of recovery from Grandmas I'm slowly building my base mileage. One thing I realized is how lucky and spoiled I've been while stationed at Fort Bragg. The Army post has many running trails (grass, dirt, and sand) and roads to run on giving runners an option to run on soft or hard surface. I think most runners would choose to run on trails versus asphalt/concrete any day of the week. This hasn't been the case for me over the past two weeks as there aren't much running trails in Okinawa and Guam. All of the last 130+ miles has been on asphalt/concrete. There is no doubt that I could feel the extra stress and pounding on the legs and knees. I'm missing the trails.

30 Jun - 06 Jul
Mon: DNR;
Tues: 8M (56:58 - 7:07 pace)
Wed: 8.9M (1:03:23 - 7:07 pace)
Thur: 9.2M (1:04:24 - 7:00 pace)
Fri: 10.1M (1:10:08 - 6:57 pace)
Sat: 10.6M (1:12:35 - 6:51 pace)
Sun: 10.1M (1:10:38 - 7:00 pace)

Weekly Total: 56.9M in 6 runs

07 - 13 Jul
Mon: 7M (1:00:37 - 8:38 pace)
Tues: 10.1M (1:09:22 - 6:52 pace)
Wed: 12M (1:23:07) - 6:56 pace)
Thur: 10.6 (1:14:56 - 7:04 pace)
Fri: 10.2 (1:12:13 - 7:05 pace)
Sat: 11M (1:16:40 - 6:58 pace)
Sun: 14.6 (1:44:23 - 7:09 pace)

Weekly Total: 75.5M in 7 runs

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finally an update

After some convincing from friends, It's time to get back to updating my blog. I have no reason not to blog now, especially that I've recovered from my ITBS and back on the roads and trails. Here's an update of what has taken place since my last post a couple months ago.

I was sidelined with an IT Band Syndrome on 1 April . After 7-8 weeks of almost no running, plenty of core exercises and weights, nightly foam roller tortures, and lots of stretchings I managed to get healthy and put one foot in front of the other. All I can say is that it was a great feeling to run for 10 minutes, then 15, then 30 and so on.

Grandmas Marathon
After 4-5 weeks of pain-free running, I decided to continue with my planned trip to Duluth, MN for Grandmas Marathon with my friend Bobby. Bobby and I registered for Grandmas so that we can finally say we ran in the same marathon. I ended up running the marathon despite no training. My longest run was a 10-miler on Wednesday the week of the race. I know many people disagreed with my decision to run the marathon, but I truly didn't want it to be my first DNF in a marathon or in any race. I could have easily decided not to make the trip, but then it would mean I'd waste a few hundred dollars and abandon a friend. There were no regrets making the trip. I had lots of fun and still broke 3-hours. Finished in 2:54:08.

I spent a week in Okinawa visiting my brother and playing tourist. Okinawa is beautiful and reminds me of home. The only thing I'd hoped for was that it be a different time of the year. It was just too hot and insanely humid....but again what place isn't this time of the year. I was able to get in at least an hour long run each day, thanks to these drink machines. I was very impressed to see these drink machines (Coke, coffee, juice, tea, water, gatorade, etc.) about every 1/4 mile along the roads. I'd run into these drink machines in places that I'd never thought they'd put one. And they all worked too. 120 Yen was enough to get me through a hot, sweaty hour run.

Currently in Guam visiting family and friends before heading out to my next duty assignment in the Netherlands. The weather here is nice, around 70-80 degrees with some humidity. As far as running goes I'm trying to put in as much base running as I can while home. So far I've managed to get in 65-85 minutes of easy running each day. These next few weeks will serve as my base phase in preparation for a fall marathon (hopefully ING Amsterdam Marathon).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Don't forget to include those supplemental workouts

Eric brings up an excellent point on strengthening and weightlifting. I truly believe that my ITBS was caused from a lack of core/strength exercises, weightlifting and stretching. I'll admit that I've neglected to include these supplemental workouts with my running over the past 6 months. Not intentionally, but mainly due to limited amount of time to work out during the deployment. In most cases, I would have about 90 minutes to work out, so I chose to use it entirely for running.

Many folks may think that I raced too soon following my deployment. I personally don't think so because I've been able to put in some quality running (60-80 miles/week) from Nov - Mar. It was mostly base mileage, but I did include at least one fartlek workout and/or a 20 min. tempo run. Now what I didn't mention in my earlier post was that I ran an 11-miler at 6:30ish pace the day after the race (which was a total of 18 miles for the day). I definitely knew it was a mistake when I finished that run. In fact, I wrote on my runlog "What was I thinking!".

So, what was the cause of the injury? I'd say a lack of core/strength exercises, weights, and stretching, lack of recovery from a race, and stupidity. A lesson learned. Don't forget to include those supplemental workouts.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Good and Bad News!

(Good) I ran my first race (Inside-Out Sports Classic Half-Marathon) last Sunday, only 10 days following my arrival from Iraq. I'd say it was a 13.1M time trial vs. a race. I placed 2nd overall in 1:15:45 running just about the entire race alone from mile 2 to the finish. The course was very challenging as it was mostly rolling hills. I had a hard time getting out of my comfortable zone and pushing myself as I knew there was noone close behind me. My splits were 11:46 (2M), 5:39, 5:45, 5:53, 5:59, 5:49, 5:49, 5:39, 5:30, 5:47, 5:41, 5:55, & :33.

(Bad) I would write more about my race, but I'm not so much motivated to. The reason being is because I'm in a depressed mode due to an injury. Two miles into my run on Tuesday I felt some pain on the outside of my right knee. The outside of the knee would hurt each time I bend it or push off. It turns out that I encountered an Iliotibial Band Syndrome. For now, I'll take a few days off of running and hope to get healthy very soon.

(Good) In other brief news: I signed up for Grandma's Marathon (21 Jun). I also have about 3 more months (till end of June) remaining stateside before I head out to my new duty assignment (Brunssum, Netherlands). Can't wait!

Friday, March 28, 2008

15 months later....

My 15-month deployment to Iraq has finally come to an end. It is great to back stateside and breathing in some clean fresh air on my runs. Despite being very busy during the deployment, I was able to get out almost every day for a run. I put in some good base mileage from Nov - Mar which led to a good base fitness. I'll see how good the fitness is as I attempt to run my first race (1/2 marathon) since last October.