Friday, October 30, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon - Race Report

In case you're wondering or if you haven't checked the results yet, I ran a 2:41:33 at the Marine Corps Marathon and Armed Forces Marathon Championship.  Army took 3rd Place.  Air Force (1st) and Navy (2nd) both put together a very strong team.  Air Force had their top 4 runners all under 2:30 (team results here) and Navy had the overall race winner of 2:21. 

It's true when they say the marathon is 2 races, a 20 mile run and then a 10k race.  I put in a good first 20 miles and then just fell apart big time in the last 10K.  I'm not sure what really happened.  The wheels just fell off after I hit the 20M mark.  I never cramped up in the last 10K, but my legs did feel like I was carrying 10 pound leg weights.  It could be either that the few up and downhills early in the race took the legs out, or my body and legs just wasn't fully recovered from Berlin.  Probably a combination of both. 

My race plan was to go out slightly slower than Berlin for the 1st half, about 5:54-5:56 pace, and then slightly increase the pace later in the race if I was feeling good.  I did exactly that.  I reached 10K in 36:54 (5:56 pace), 15K in 55:05 (5:55 pace) and the halfway mark in 1:17:16 (5:54 pace).  I think what went wrong for me is that I increased the pace a little too much following the halfway mark.  I ran miles 14-18 at 5:56, 5:52, 5:46, 5:51, and 5:50 pace.  At 20 miles, my time was 1:57:57 (5:54 pace and on track for a 2:34 marathon).  Not long after I hit the 20M marker, the legs started to feel like bricks.  No more sub-6:00 pace for me.  I ran 6:10-6:35 pace for miles 21-23.  I told myself that if I can just hold 6:30 pace for the last 3 miles than I could still salvage a decent marathon.  Of course that didn't happen.  I struggled through the last 3.2 miles in 24.15 (7:35 pace) and finished with my slowest time since 2005 (not including Grandmas which I did as a long run).  I'm still very happy with my overall race despite the substandard time.  Here are my splits:

Distance / Time / Split
5K 18:16
10K 36:54 (18:38)
15K 55:05 (18:11)
20K 1:13:15 (18:10)
Half 1:17:16
25K 1:31:28 (18:13)
30K 1:49:42 (18:14)
35K 2:09:02 (19:20)
40K 2:30:58 (21:56)
Finish 2:41:33

It's now time to rest and fully recover from 4 marathons in a year's period (Oct '08 - Oct '09).  No running for at least a full week, maybe two. 

Amsterdam Marathon (19Oct08) 2:35:37
Hamburg Marathon (26Apr09) 2:34:33
Berlin Marathon (20Sep09) 2:34:06
Marine Corps Marathon (25Oct09) 2:41:33

Sunday, October 18, 2009

1 Week till MCM

A week from today I'll be running in the Marine Corps Marathon.  It will be my 2nd marathon within a 5-week period.  The number of weeks between marathons is not something I found easy to deal with.  In fact, 5 weeks is barely enough to get in a complete marathon recovery and then get ready for the next marathon.  If I was running the 2nd marathon just to finish, then I'd say 5 weeks is certainly enough.  However, I'm not putting on an Army singlet to stroll through the streets of our capital.  I'm going to give everything I got on raceday, just like I did in Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, etc.....

The week of training/tapering has gone okay for the most part.  After Tuesday night's track session, I started to feel a little pain on the outside of my right knee.  I initially thought I was coming up with an Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), which I experienced back in Spring '06.  I took Wednesday off to give it some rest and then tried running on Thursday.  It turned out that the slight pain was actually just below and outside of the knee on the top of Peroneus Longus muscle, mainly some tightness.  I took the rest of the week easy knowing that there's not much fitness I can gain from here on out. 

12-18 Oct

Mon: 4M very easy
Tues: 9M including 6 x 800 (2:33, 2:30, 2:30, 2:31, 2:27, 2:27) + 1 x 400 (1:11)
Wed: DNR
Thur: 5M @ 7:15 pace
Fri: 5M @ 7:12 pace with 5 x strides
Sat: 5M @ 7:00 pace with last mile slightly faster than MP; 5 x strides
Sun: 13M @ 6:53 pace

Weekly Total: 41 miles

Monday, October 12, 2009

Think positive

If Sammy Wanjiru can still be happy after running 1:41 slower in the 2nd half of the Chicago Marathon, then there's no reason for me not to be happy with my 1:26 positive split in Berlin.  But again, he has all the reasons to be happy.  At the age of 22, the guy has ran 4 marathons, won all 4 of them, ran a record in each of them (3 course records and olympic games record), and received $100,000 bonus for one second.  Impressive! 

Speaking of impressive, my Dutch female friend Inge Van Bergen ran an impressive race at the Eindhoven Marathon on Sunday.  She ran a personal best of 2:44:07 placing 4th overall and was the 1st female Dutch runner.  It was a huge PR for her and great acheivement considering she was injured most of the Spring season.  Looks like my fellow Dutch training partners and I are going to have some cake and coffee from Inge after tomorrow night's track workout.  Oops, I actually still have to bring my share for acheiving a PR in Berlin. 

Today: 4M very easy

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2 Weeks till MCM

Today was my first long run since Berlin Marathon and my first/last one for Marine Corps Marathon.  I ran 17 miles at a comfortable steady pace, averaging 6:43 pace for the run.  There were a few miles in the middle of the run when the pace dropped to 6:30/mile.  When it did I forced myself to back off to ensure I wasn't pushing beyond long run pace.  Two weeks to go for the US Armed Forces Marathon Championship, which is in conjunction with MCM.   

5-11 Oct
Mon: DNR; core exercise
Tues: Noon - 4M @ 7:02 pace; PM - 9M including ladder of 300 to 700m
Wed: 10M @ 6:56 pace
Thur: 6M @ 7:07 pace
Fri: 9M including 4-mile tempo in 23:03 (5:46, 5:49, 5:45, 5:43)
Sat: 6M @ 7:01 pace
Sun: 17M @ 6:43 pace

Weekly Total: 61 miles

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Waking up the legs

I continue to feel pretty good and optimistic about MCM (Marine Corps Marathon), .  Did an easy 6 miles with strides on Wednesday and then 9 miles with the middle 4 slightly faster than marathon pace yesterday.  The purpose of yesterday's workout was to wake up the legs and remind them what faster pace running felt like.  I ran the 4 miles slower than tempo in 23:03 (5:46, 5:49, 5:45, 5:43).  The workout felt quite easy that I considered extending it to 5 or 6 miles.  I was smart enough though and stopped at the planned 4 miles.  An easy 6 today and 16 tomorrow wraps up a 60-mile week. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Signs of life in the legs

After taking Monday completely off from running, I did an easy 4 miles during lunch on Tuesday, and then hit the track later that night to get some turnover in the legs.  I did a ladder workout of 300 to 700 (200 rec) with my friend Paul.  The workout went surprisingly well and the turnover felt smooth.  Today, I did an easy 10 miles on trails.  I expected some heaviness or fatigue in the legs, but none at all.  This is not only a positive sign of how quicly my legs recovered from Berlin, but also a confidence booster that the fitness is still high. 

300 - "55
400 - 1:14
500 - 1:35
600 - 1:52
700 - 2:13
700 - 2:14
600 - 1:53
500 - 1:31
400 - 1:10
300 - :51

Mon: DNR; core exercises
Tues: Noon - 4M @ 7:02 pace; PM - 9M including ladder of 300 to 700m.
Wed: 10M @ 6:56 pace

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Week 2 Recovery

Week 2 recovery is complete. I'd say I'm about 85% fully recovered. The legs and cardio almost feel like they're back to normal.  I think by the time I toe the line in DC I'll be somewhere close to pre-Berlin race fitness. Here's the last 2 weeks of recovery.

28 Sep - 4 Oct
Mon: 3.2M @ 7:40 pace; lots of core exercises
Tues: 6M @ 7:14 pace
Wed: 8M @ 6:52 pace
Thur: DNR; cross train and core exer.
Fri: 8M @ 6:53 pace
Sat: 5M @ 7:00 pace
Sun: 12M @ 6:53 pace

Weekly Total: 42.2 miles

21-27 Sep
Mon: DNR
Tues: DNR
Wed: DNR
Thur: 4M very easy
Fri: 3.5M very easy
Sat: 5M @ 7:15 pace
Sun: 8.2M @ 7:25 pace

Weekly Total: 20.7 miles