Friday, December 11, 2015

California International Marathon - 2:31:54 (PR)

“What comes around goes around.”  A couple weeks out from the marathon my daughter caught a cold.  It wasn't that bad and within a few days the cold was gone, but not until she passed it to her mom.  You know where this is going.  On Monday of race week I picked up the cold from my wife.  At first, I didn’t think much of it and thought that it wouldn't get any worse, but by Wednesday I had a nasal congestion and a minor sore throat.  I tried everything in my power to fight off or shorten the cold during the rest of the week.  I drank plenty of fluids, continued to take my vitamins (C), took an extra dose or two of DayQuil, and went through a box of tissues.  By Saturday I was feeling better or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.  Just as I was getting over my cold, my daughter caught it again. 

My race strategy going into CIM was to run 5:43-5:45 for the first half and then hopefully pick it up and negative split the second half, just as I did in last year’s race.  If I execute this plan perfectly then there is a very good chance I’ll achieve both of my goals: (1) run a new PR, and (2) break 2:30 for the marathon.  Since I felt that my cold was almost gone, I decided to stick with my race strategy.

Just before the race started it began to rain.  Fortunately, it was light rain and the temperature only in the low-50s with little wind.  Any colder and windier and I would have felt like I was running in the 2015 Boston Marathon.  Personally, I thought the conditions were “almost perfect” for marathon running.  My only wish was that it didn't rain.  With the roads wet, I felt like I wasn't getting good traction or push off with my Saucony Type A6. 

I felt really good and comfortable early in the race clicking off mile splits mostly in the range of 5:43-5:46.  The first mile, which was mostly downhill, was 5:41 and on the fast end of MP.  Somewhere in the first mile my friend (who I haven’t met in person until now) and former Guam resident Johnson Lee pulled alongside me.  Johnson, who lived on Guam until he moved stateside to attend college, ran cross country and track for the University of Portland and holds the Guam 10,000m record.   We chatted a little and he asked me what time I was planning to run.   I told him that I was hoping to break 2:30.  I think after I told him that he backed off on the pace as he was aiming for 2:33.  Although the first mile felt very easy, I also backed off a little on the pace and settled in at my planned pace for the first half. 

The 2:30 range can be a lonely pace in a lot of marathons.  I was glad that within a couple miles into the race I had the company of Scott Trummer and Justus Meyer.  Scott shared that he was planning to go through the first half around 1:15:30 and then negative split the second half and hopefully dip under 2:30.  I told him that I had the same plan except that I wanted to be closer to 1:15:10 at the half, so I wouldn’t leave too much time to make up on the back half. 

We cruised along averaging right around 5:45 pace for the first 8 miles.  Scott and I came through 10K in 35:55 with Justus a couple seconds behind us.  Around mile 9, Scott put in a surge and immediately gapped Justus and I by about 20 meters.  I chose not to go with Scott, because I wanted to stick with my plan of running my own race.  Additionally, I was already running my planned 5:43-5:45 pace, and putting in a surge with 17 miles still left in the race most likely would have come back to bite me in the rear. 

Around 10 miles I started to get worried because my left hamstring was feeling tight.  It was almost as if a knot was developing in my left hammy.  I’m not sure if the rolling hills early in the race started to take its toll or if I wasn’t taking in enough fluids.  I know it wasn’t the latter because I was drinking at almost every aid station and even took in an energy gel right before the race and at 5.5 miles.  I tried hard not to think of it and continued on with my pace. 

One thing worth sharing is that shortly after the 10 mile mark, I caught up to one of the blind athletes.  Blind or visually impaired athletes started 5 minutes ahead of the main field and were running CIM as part of the US Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) Marathon National Championships.  When I caught up to the blind athlete (Matthew Oliver) I was surprised and caught off guard when he turned to me and asked where we were at in the race.  My thought at the time was where was his guide and how did he get this far without one?  I told him that we had just passed the 10 mile mark and then wished him luck and continued with my race.  It wasn’t until I read this article on USABA that I learned Oliver’s first guide could not keep up with the 6:21 pace he was running.  Wow, impressive!  According to the article, Oliver continued to run without his first guide and just followed random people; I guess I was one of them.  Oliver finished in a blazing 2:50:41 winning the USABA National Marathon Championships. 

Oliver running with his second guide
Photo from USABA website
Despite a tight left hamstring, I split the next four miles (10-13) in 5:41, 5:44, 5:41 and 5:42.  Justus and I both came through the half-marathon mark in 1:15:12, exactly where I wanted to be with my plan to negative split.   Scott, on the other hand, was about 10 seconds in front of us, but seemed to be slowly coming back to us.  Right when we hit the Mile 16 marker Justus turned to me and said “the fun part begins”.  I knew exactly what he meant. 

Justus and I ran together for the next few miles at around 5:45 pace until about 19 miles, when he slowly pulled away as my pace slowed.  Shortly after, I caught Scott just before the 20 mile mark and encouraged him to go with me. He tucked in behind me for about a minute before slowly fading back.  I split miles 19/20 in 5:48 and 5:54 respectively.  Any thought of breaking 2:30 was thrown out the window.  I now had to focus on holding things together if I wanted to run a PR.  In a marathon, time adds up very quickly when you’re running 10-15 seconds/mile or slower than your goal pace. 

My left hamstring at this point of the race was getting tighter and tighter, and I was afraid that I would cramp up at any moment.  I even considered stopping to massage it, but then I knew I would lose too much time.  Once you stop in a marathon, it's almost impossible to start back up at the pace you were running.  My pace continued to slow over the next couple miles.  I ran 6:00 and 6:02 for miles 21 and 22, which were my slowest miles of the race.  Knowing that a PR was in jeopardy, I regrouped and psyched myself into finishing the race strong.  I ran 5:51, 5:58 and 5:51 for miles 23-25.  I probably would have ran a 5:51 split for mile 24 if I didn’t scuffle with the Gu.  I know it seems too late in the race to take a Gu, but I went ahead and took it because I was following the same nutrition plan as last year’s race. 

With about a half mile left in the race, I could hear someone closing on me. I was surprised to see it was the Ethiopian girl who I had passed just before the halfway mark.  The Ethiopian girl and eventual winner (2:31:50) pulled ahead and I just tried to stick with her.  I was glad she caught up to me as she helped me to push my pace over the last 1.2 miles.  For mile 26, I ended up running a 5:48, which was my fastest mile since mile 19.  Once I made the turn for the finish I saw the clock approaching 2:32.  I gave everything I had left in the final stretch of the race and finished in 2:31:54, a new marathon PR by 35 seconds!!! marathon PR!
Overall, I'm very happy with my race and PR even though I didn't achieve my 2nd goal of running a sub-2:30.  A 2:31:54 is still a solid time and I can now call myself a 2:31 marathoner, which sounds way much cooler than a 2:32 marathoner.  I still think I have a sub-2:30 in me.  I just might have to find a pancake flat and rhythmic type course to run it, maybe something like Berlin, Chicago, Houston or even Indy Monumental. 

In other results, Justus ran strong to finish in 2:31:03, Scott struggled badly after 20 miles finishing in 2:42:48, and Johnson had some issues with his calves and finished in 2:46:44.

Some thoughts:
I wonder how much my cold had an effect on my performance and how much faster I could have ran if I didn't come up with it the week of the race.  Had I been 95-100% healthy at the start of the race, I think I would have ran 2:30:xx or maybe even dip under 2:30.  The bad thing about a marathon is that you only have one day to showcase your fitness and unfortunately, there are some things you don't have control of that can affect your race. 

The other thing that had an affect my race was the tight left hamstring I encountered starting at 10 miles.  I trained a lot on rolling hills and beat my legs up enough during training, so I don't think the tight hamstring was caused by the hills early in the race.  My thought is that my cold might have stimulated the hamstring tightness.  Regardless, I'm very lucky my hamstring never cramped or seized up, and that I was still able to run well over the last 16 miles.


GPS miles splits: 5:41, 5:48, 5:46, 5:44, 5:44, 5:47, 5:43, 5:44, 5:47, 5:41, 5:44, 5:41, 5:42, 5:46, 5:47, 5:41, 5:47, 5:45, 5:48, 5:54, 6:00, 6:02, 5:51, 5:58, 5:51, 5:48, 1:23 (.2 miles).

Pre-race: Herbalife24 F1 Sport shake, bagel with peanut butter, 2 bananas, 16oz Herbalife24 Prolong/Prepare, coffee.  I also took in one energy gel right before the start of the race.

Race: I took in an energy gel at miles 5.5, 10.3, 15.5, 17.8 and 20.4, and one Gu offered on the course at mile 23.5. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

California International Marathon Training

California International Marathon is this weekend and I'm looking forward to towing the start line for the second consecutive year.  There’s no doubt in my mind that my fitness is the best it's ever been. My most recent PRs at the half-marathon and 10-mile distances, as well as my workouts during this marathon training cycle, are clear indicators that I’m fit as ever and have a chance at achieving my ultimate goal of running sub-2:30 for the marathon.

Before I recap my CIM training, I want to give a little background of my past marathon training and the changes I’ve made over the last year and a half that has gotten me to my current fitness.

When I first started running marathons in 2003, I relied on running books such as Daniel’s Running Formula and Advanced Marathoning to guide me through marathon training. I would pick out workouts based on what I felt like doing on a given day. It was basically trial and error. Fifteen months after running my first marathon, I dropped my marathon time to 2:42 at the Houston Marathon.

It was after the Houston Marathon on January 2005 that I realized I could run faster and possibly even run 6-minute pace for 26.2 miles.  However, I knew I would need a coach to help and guide me through my training, so I contacted Greg McMillan (McMillan Running).  Ironically, I first met Greg while running the Houston Marathon.  I remember around mile 20 of the race, a guy (Greg) on a bike was encouraging me and a few other runners to stay relax and work together.  Apparently, Greg was on the course cheering his athlete and eventual Houston Marathon winner, Kelly Keane.  At the time, I had no idea that Greg was a recognized online coach and famous for his McMillan Running Calculator.

In just one year with McMillan Running, I improved my marathon PR by four minutes to a 2:38 at the Austin Marathon.  I won't go into too much details, but some of Greg's training that helped take my marathon running to the next level included fast-finish long runs, strength-building workouts such as marathon goal pace runs, and cruise/tempo intervals.  You can visit for more of Greg's training philosophy.

I was coached by Greg until 2007 when duty called and had to deploy for the third time in five years. After coming back from a longgg 15-month deployment in 2008, I continued to use Greg's training philosophy and a variety of running books to coach myself. I'd say I did a pretty darn good job, because I had a break-through marathon in 2008 at the Amsterdam Marathon running 2:35:37.  I not only PR’d by over 2 1/2 minutes, but also averaged well under 6:00/mile pace. As a self-coached athlete from 2009-2013 (except for winter/spring of 2011 when Andrew Lemoncello (McMillan Running) coached me for Rotterdam Marathon), I ran a total of 10 marathons, eight (8) of which were faster than 2:37 or sub-6:00 pace (my list of marathon results).

I was happy with my marathon results over those five years, especially that I had lowered my PR down to 2:33:50 and placed well in a few of the popular small-city marathons: 9th at the Munich Marathon, 11th at Big Sur Marathon and 12th at Richmond Marathon.  I even ran well at the big stage, 56th overall at the scorching 2012 Boston Marathon.  But there was one problem.  I was stuck running marathons in the 2:35-2:36 range and had not improved my marathon PR since 10/10/10 at the Munich Marathon.

After having my worst marathon experience and a poor showing (2:53) at last year's (2014) Boston Marathon I realized that I needed some change.  Additionally, at age 38, I knew my chances of improving my marathon PB and getting closer to that illustrious sub-2:30 marathon were diminishing.  So, I decided to get a coach to orchestrate my training and provide some motivation and accountability. My initial thought was to go with McMillan Running again, but as I stated earlier I wanted some change.

I had been following Scott Wietecha's training on his running blog (Running, Rants and Randomness) for some time and really liked his approach to training. Scott, an elementary PE teacher, glorified hobby-jogger for Newton Elite and a 2:17 marathoner, was kind enough to take me under his wing.  Under Scott's guidance over the last year and a half, I've improved my personal bests in the marathon (2:32:29, California Int'l Marathon), half-marathon (1:11:49, Philly Rock 'n' Roll), and 10-Mile (54:35, Army Ten-Miler).  I also ran my 2nd fastest marathon time (2:33:13) earlier this year at Boston in less-than-ideal conditions (headwinds).  I went into Boston in top shape and likely would have ran somewhere around 2:31 had conditions been better.

Scott Wietecha - three-peat Country Music Marathon Champion
Now, with CIM just a week away and having completed my hardest marathon training cycle ever, I'm ready to freshen up the legs and go to war for that sub-2:30.  My only hope is that the weather is good and that I run 2 minutes and 30 seconds faster than I did last year.

Here's a summary of my quality sessions/workouts during the last 12 weeks.  I labeled Q1, Q2, etc. as the number of quality sessions for that specific week.

Week 12: Q1 - 10 miles of alternating 1/2 miles at 5:55 and 5:35; averaged 5:53/5:33 for the recover/fast portions.  Q2 - 15 miles medium long run on rolling route with 4x1/2 mile at marathon effort.  (77 miles)

Week 11: Q1 - 6x1 mile working from 10K pace to slightly faster (5:15, 5:13, 5:12, 5:10, 5:10, 5:09) with 400m rec jog. Q2: 20 miles long run with last 5 miles at MP; ran the last 5M in 28:16 (5:39 pace) 6:27 overall avg pace for the 20 miles (102 miles)

Week 10: Q1 - 12x2:00 at HM pace to slightly faster with 2:00 moderate over rolling hills.  Q2 - 12 miles progression from easy to moderate effort over rolling hills.  Q3 - 19.5 miles long run with 3x4 miles at MP with 3:00 recovery jogs. Ran 22:49, 22:40, and 22:16. (99 miles)

Week 9: Q1 - 12x600m at 5K pace to slightly faster with 1:30 rest.  Q2 - 20 miles progression long run working from moderate pace down to MP; 6:03 avg pace.  (100 miles)

Week 8: Q1 - 10 miles tempo working from slightly slower than MP to slightly faster than MP; 57:03, 5:43 pace). Q2 - Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, 1:11:49.  (82 miles)

Week 7: Q1 - 20x 400m at 75-77s with 1:00 rec jog.  Q2 - 4 miles tempo at HM pace plus 6x1/4 mile uphill and 2x1/4 downhill with jog up/down for recovery.  Q3 - 22 miles normal long run with the first half on rolling hills.  (103 miles)

Week 6: Q1 - 6x1 mile starting 5:30 pace and working down to 5:15 with 400m rec jog. Splits were 5:29, 5:25, 5:22, 5:19, 5:14, and 5:12.  Q2 - 20 miles long run with last 6 miles at sub-5:45 pace. 33:57 (5:40 avg) for last 6 miles.  (89 miles)

Week 5: Q1 - 6x1K at 3:10 (3:10, 3:09, 3:08, 3:09, 3:08, 3:09) with 400m rec jog.  Q2 - 9 miles with 4 miles fartlek of .15 miles fast / .35 miles easy.  Q3 - Army Ten-Miler, 54:35.  (77 miles)

Week 4: Q1 - 11 miles with fartlek of 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2-1 with equal recovery; fast portion at 5:20 pace and moderate recovery at 6:20; averaged 5:16 for fast section and 6:12 for recovery.  Q2 - 12 miles progressing from easy to moderate pace. Q3 - 15 miles with 4x2 miles starting at 5:30 and working down to 5:20 pace (10:56, 10:47, 10:43, 10:39) with 400m rec jog.  (93 miles)

Week 3: Q1 - 2x3 miles tempo (16:41, 16:16) plus 2x800m at sub-2:30 (2:27, 2:27).  Q2 - 9 miles with 4x1/4 mile uphill and 4x1/4 mile downhill with jog down/up recovery.  Q3 - 20 miles long run with middle 14 miles progressing from 6:20 to 6:00 pace; 6:07 overall avg pace.  (100 miles)

Week 2: Q1 - 12 miles with 10x3:00/1:30 fartlek.  Q2 - 8x400m at sub-70s with 400m rec jog.  Q3 - 20 miles normal long run.  (101 miles)

Week 1: Q1 - New Haven 20K Race, 1:10:15.  Q2 - 16x400m at sub-80s with 100m rec jog; averaged 75-76s for the first 8 reps and 73-74s for the last 8.  Q3 - 20 miles long run with the last 5 miles moderate working down to 6:00 pace.  (93 miles)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Rock'n'Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon - 1:11:49!!

Just three weeks after the Army Ten-Miler (ATM) I hit the streets again, this time for the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.  Rock 'n' Roll Philly served as a tune-up and my last race leading up to California International Marathon (CIM) in five weeks.  I ran this race last year when it was in September and finished in 1:13:13.  This year the race was pushed back to the end of October to accommodate Pope Francis' first visit to the US and the city of Philadelphia.  The unique date was a "blessing" because we were treated with perfect running weather (40 degrees with very little wind) on Halloween day. 

Marathon training has been going extremely well and with a recent PB at the ten mile distance, there was no reason I wouldn't be able to run a PB for the half-marathon.  My race strategy was similar to my ATM race; start out at about 5:30 pace or slightly under for the first half and then drop the hammer on the second.

The first few miles felt pretty easy.  I went through the first mile right at 5:30 pace.  Me and a group of runners, some were elite females aiming for the Olympic Marathon Trials Standard (Women - 1:15:00, Men - 1:05:00), actually freaked out because the timing clock at Mile 1 showed 5:08.  I then heard a guy on the bike tell his athlete not to worry because the clock was wrong and that the 1st mile was a 5:30.  My second mile split was slow (GPS split for was a 5:43) even though I felt like I was running the same effort/pace.  I hit the 5K in 17:11, about 5-10 seconds slower than I had planned.  I probably fell behind because I was too busy waving to my wife and daughter.

Definitely not running hard enough!
At 10K I was still feeling really good, maybe too good. I went through 10K in 34:23.  No wonder I was feeling too good!  I practically cruised the second 5K (17:12) in the same time as the first.  After 10K is when I started to roll.  I ran miles 7 and 8 in 5:25 and 5:28.  However, mile 9 was a slow 5:38.  I think a combination of a short uphill and sharp turn onto Falls Bridge caused me to lose some seconds.  Luckily, I made up the lost seconds on the next mile with a 5:19 split. 

At the 10 mile mark, which I came across in 54:56, I caught and passed about four runners, including three-time Olympian Jen Rhines. It's crazy to think that my 10 mile split was a sub-55 and only 21 seconds slower than my PB I set a few weeks ago.  Coming through the ten mile mark in just under 55-min meant that I'd only have to run 5:30 pace for the remaining 5K to hit my goal time of 1:12. 

I wasn't going to settle for 5:30 pace, so I tried to keep the hammer down and ran 5:24, 5:29, and 5:24 for the last three miles.  When I got to the 13 mile mark, just at the base of the short steep hill before the finish, I glanced at my watch and saw 1:11:10.  I knew at this point that I would break 1:12 for the half.  I sprinted up the short hill and to the finish like nobody's business crossing the line in 1:11:49, a new half-marathon PB by a whopping 80 seconds.  According to my Garmin splits and Strava, I ran the last .1 mile of the race at sub-5:00 pace, and that's with the hill. I'd have to say that the weekly hill blasts my coach has incorporated into my training has really paid off.

1:11:49!!!  New Half Marathon PB!

Below are my splits and a comparison of my 2014/2015 R'n'R Philly race.  Interestingly, I ran much faster this year but placed lower in the overall results, mainly because the fast guys and ladies decided to show up and run a qualifying time for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.  A total of 44 runners (24 men and 20 women) ran fast enough to qualify for the marathon trials in February.  Insane!

5 Km
10 Km
10 Mile
Chip Time
2015 17:11 34:23 54:56 1:11:49 5:29 68
2014 17:32 35:02 56:14 1:13:13 5:35 61

Some thoughts following my half-marathon PB:
  • I was thrilled to run a huge PR and sub-1:12.  However, I think if I wasn't being too patient early in the race I probably would have ran about 10-20 seconds faster. I'm not greedy though, I'll take a 1:11:49!!!
In disbelief!
  • It's obvious that I'm a patient and negative split type of runner.  Personally, I think it's the best and smartest way to run the long distance races. 
  • The race was a huge and perfect confidence booster leading up to CIM in five weeks.  I feel that my ultimate goal of a sub-2:30 marathon is well within reach.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Marathon Results and Statistics

1st Half
2nd Half
1 Marine Corps 10/26/2003 2:52:22 6:37 1:22:46 1:30:36 47
2 Honolulu 12/14/2003 3:09:38 7:14 176
3 Boston 4/19/2004 2:59:23 6:51 1:24:39 1:34:33 307
4 Houston 1/16/2005 2:42:14 6:12 1:21:11 1:21:03 25
5 Marine Corps 10/30/2005 2:41:15 6:09 1:20:16 1:20:59 35
6 Austin 2/19/2006 2:38:16 6:02 1:19:17 1:18:59 54
7 Rocket City 12/9/2006 2:39:21 6:05 1:18:29 1:20:52 9
8 Grandmas 6/21/2008 2:54:08 6:39 1:25:23 1:28:45 80
9 Amsterdam 10/19/2008 2:35:37 5:56 1:17:34 1:18:03 43
10 Hamburg 4/26/2009 2:34:33 5:54 1:17:16 1:17:17 36
11 Berlin 9/20/2009 2:34:06 5:53 1:16:20 1:17:46 98
12 Marine Corps 10/25/2009 2:41:33 6:10 1:17:16 1:24:17 34
13 Rotterdam 4/11/2010 2:35:46 5:57 1:17:04 1:18:42 73
14 Munich 10/10/2010 2:33:50 5:52 1:16:46 1:17:04 9
15 Rotterdam 4/10/2011 2:35:26 5:56 1:16:32 1:18:54 67
16 Boston 4/16/2012 2:36:35 5:59 1:18:29 1:18:06 56
17 Boston 4/15/2013 2:36:49 5:59 1:17:08 1:19:41 179
18 Big Sur 4/28/2013 2:46:05 6:20 1:23:08 1:22:57 11
19 Richmond 11/16/2013 2:36:44 5:59 1:17:27 1:19:18 12
20 Boston 4/21/2014 2:53:34 6:37 1:17:24 1:36:10 1310
21 All-American 5/4/2014 2:48:03 6:25 1:20:37 1:27:26 3
22 California Int'l12/7/20142:32:295:491:16:411:15:4865
23 Boston 4/20/2015 2:33:13 5:51 1:16:13 1:17:00 119
24 California Int'l12/6/20152:31:545:481:15:121:16:42 44 
25 Boston4/18/20162:37:236:001:15:351:21:4890 
26 Indy Monumental11/5/20162:31:445:471:15:151:16:3011 
Average  2:41:16 6:09 

Facts and statistics in no particular order.
  • New Marathon Personal Best is 2:31:44 at the 2016 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
    • Ran my PR on my 26th marathon at the age of 39!
    • My four fastest marathon times were ran in the last two years (2014-2016).
  • Boston Marathon
    • 6 total Boston Marathons
    • Ongoing streak of 5 consecutive Boston's (2012-2016)
    • Placed 119th Overall in the 119th edition of the Boston Marathon (2015)
    • Placed in the Top 100 in 2012 and 2016. 
      • 56th Overall in the 2012 scorching heat.
      • 90th Overall in 2016; very warm and windy.
  • 3rd Place Overall in Boston2BigSur Challenge (2 marathons in 13 days)
  • Average marathon time and pace for my 25 marathons is 2:41:39 / 6:10 pace.
  • Ran 15 marathons in the 2:30's (between 2:30:00 to 2:39:59), 5 marathons in the 2:40's, 4 marathons in the 2:50s, and 1 marathon over 3:00 (decided to run Honolulu last minute as a fun run while on vacation). 
  • Ran 12 marathons at sub-6:00 pace or sub-2:37:12.
  • 6 marathons with a negative or even split halves.  I'm considering Hamburg Marathon an even split race since I was only 1 second slower in the 2nd half. 
  • 10 marathons were within 1-3 minutes slower in the 2nd half. According to this RunningTrainingTips article, a slight slow down of 1-3 minutes in the 2nd half is considered good marathon pace judgement. 
  • Ran 6 marathons in Europe: 3 in Germany and 3 in the Netherlands. 
    • Avg finish time and pace for European marathons is 2:34:53 / 5:55 pace.
    • Is European's pavement better than the US for running or are the courses just faster?
  • Since 2003 I ran at least one marathon each year except for 2007 (deployment to Iraq).
  • I ran 4 marathons 2 or more times - 6 x Boston, 3 x Marine Corps, 2 x Rotterdam, 2 x CIM
  • The most marathons I ran in one calendar year is 3 in 2009.  
  • 5 - # of times I hit the "Wall" in the marathon.
    • Marine Corps '03 - what better way to experience the wall than in your 1st marathon.
    • Boston '04 - HOT! 2nd hottest Boston Marathon in history at the time. (can't use the heat as an excuse since I ran well in '12 Boston when it was hot again)
    • Marine Corps '09 - Ran MCM only 5 weeks after Berlin.  
    • Boston '14 - you can't expect to run well in Boston if you don't train on hills.
    • All-American - cramped badly at 20 miles, but still fought hard for 3rd Place.
  • 2:54 at Grandmas Marathon - still decided to run Grandmas after only 4-5 weeks of training; had IT band syndrome that lasted for 8 weeks.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Army Ten-Miler

The Army Ten-Miler was the second of three races (New Haven 20K, Army Ten-Miler, Philadelphia Rock'n'Roll Half-Marathon) in the lead up to my next marathon, California International Marathon in December.  

Before I go any further with my Army Ten-Miler race, I'll give a brief summary of my running since the Boston Marathon.  I basically took things pretty easy after Boston and did easy running during the month of May.  In early June, I had some issue with my left knee that forced me to take some days completely off from running.  I think the knee issue was a sign that my body needed time off to recover as I was going hard for about 10 consecutive months.  The only good thing about the injury was that it came at a good time.  In June, my family took vacation trips to Hawaii and my hometown in Guam.  It was the first time visiting family and friends back home since 2009.  The months of July and August were all about gaining back fitness with base mileage and some fartlek and moderate workouts. 

Vacation in Kona, Hawaii

Where America's Day Begins!

The New Haven 20K Road Race, which also hosted the USATF 20 km Championships, was my first race since the Boston Marathon in April.  The Labor Day race served as a good race-buster and fitness assessment as I began to ramp up training for the marathon.  I ran 1:10:15 (5:39 pace) for 47th Overall.  Going into the race, I thought I'd be able to average 5:35ish pace for the distance.  Unfortunately, a combination of the warm (70deg) and humid conditions and a side-stitch between miles 8-10 made for a tough day. 

New Haven 20K Road Race

Following the New Haven 20K, I had five solid weeks of training before I toed the Army Ten-Miler start line.  I put in weeks of 93, 101, 100, 93 and 77 miles (race-week) with 2-3 tough quality sessions per week.  My main goal(s) for the 10-miler was to: A) break 55 minutes; I'd be disappointed if I don't run a sub-55 because I know I'm in much better shape than a couple years ago when I ran 55:07; and B) run in the low to mid-54 minute range if I was having a great day.

My race plan was to go out at 5:30 pace or slightly under for the first half and then drop down to 5:20-5:25 pace for the last 5 miles.  I know 5:20-5:25 pace for the 2nd half was doable because a week prior I had done 4x2 miles starting at 11:00 and worked down to 10:40.  The 4x2 miles (10:56, 10:47, 10:43, 10:39) was a key workout and confidence builder heading into the ATM. 

The first mile felt pretty easy at 5:30 pace. For the next three miles, I settled into a good rhythm and crossed the 4-mile timing clock in 22:30. At this point, I was running my race as planned, but I knew I had to get moving if I wanted to run well under 55min. I then started picking up the pace and ran 5:26 for the 5th mile. During the 5th mile, I felt a side-stitch coming.  Fortunately, the stitch never evolved to a point where it would affect my race.

Memorial Hwy
The second half is where I started to roll. I clicked off mile splits between 5:20-5:25, even on Memorial Hwy, which to me was the toughest part of the course.  The mile stretch on Memorial Hwy seemed like a never ending gradual hill.  I remember running behind Oiselle Elite Kerri Gallagher on Memorial Hwy in 2013 and tried hard to keep up with her.  Unfortunately, I couldn't hang on with her and she slowly pulled away.  Kerri ended up running a Women's course record in 54:56 while I finished 11 seconds back.  This time I wasn't slowing down and I wasn't going to let the women's winner (Tina Muir - 55:20) finish ahead of me.  I ran a 5:23 and 5:24 split for miles 7 and 8, respectively.  

54:35, 49th Overall
The last couple miles was all about digging deep and finishing strong, which I did with a 5:21 and 5:23 split.  I crossed the finish line in 54:35, a new 10-mile PR and good for 49th Overall.  The nice thing is that I ran a 21-second negative split with the 1st half in 27:28 and the 2nd half in 27:07.  This big of a negative split tells me that I could have ran a little faster had I ran a couple seconds faster early in the race.  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Boston Marathon Race Report

I had high expectations going into my 5th Boston Marathon. My marathon training cycle went extremely well and my fitness and marathon-specific workouts indicated I was in shape to run faster than my PR (2:32:29), which was set just 4 months ago at the California International Marathon.  

When I saw the race day weather forecast to be cold, wet and very windy (headwinds), I started to get worried. I was concerned about my race being ruined by the weather. But then I thought, there's nothing anyone can do about the weather and we'll all be running in the same conditions, so I better stop whining.

I arrived at the Athlete's Village about 2.5 hours before the start of the race. Once I got there I headed to the "Hawaii House", which is an engineering firm's office/residence on Main Street where Hawaii runners and islanders gather to relax before the race. According to this article, the owner started inviting Hawaii runners in for breakfast in 1995 to honor his late wife who loved visiting the islands. I was first invited into the house in 2012 by a close friend who lives in Hawaii. Since then it's been a tradition to relax and hang out at the house before toeing the Start line.

Hopkington Start
When the gun went off, I stayed close to the right side of the road so I wouldn't get clipped or shoved by runners who shot out like they were running a 10K. I ran comfortably clicking off mile splits mostly between 5:45-5:50. GPS mile splits for the first six miles were 5:45, 5:47, 5:46, 5:47, 5:52, and 5:47 with a 10K split of 36:06 (5:48 pace). At this point, I was feeling good (as I should since it was still early in the race) running at the pace/effort that I had trained at. I didn't think the winds had much of an effect in the early miles. However, by around mile 10, I started noticing the headwinds. It was also at this point in the race when runners around me started stringing out.  There were still many runners near me, but they were either running slightly in front of or behind me. Instead of putting in small surges to catch up to some runners and draft off of them, I continued to run my own pace and race.

I hit the half-marathon mark in 1:16:13, which was right around where I thought I'd be considering the conditions. My coach and I initially thought that going out in 1:14-1:15 for the half would be perfectly reasonable, if the weather was good.  However, going out in 1:14-1:15 in windy conditions would have made for a long day.  From miles 12-16, I continued to put down splits between 5:45-5:50. My 5K split of 17:55 between 20K-25K was my fastest throughout the race.

After 16 miles came the infamous Newton Hills. This is the section of Boston's course that will make or break a runner. In last year's race, the Newton Hills broke me and I ended up jogging to the finish. I wasn't about to experience that again. I reflected back on all the tough training and long runs I did on rolling hills and ran strong (or at least tried to) up the hills. Splits for miles 18-21 were 5:54, 5:51, 5:55 and 6:15, respectively. When I saw a 6:15 split for mile 21, I couldn't help but think that my race was about to go downhill.

The infamous Newton Hills!

After I crested Heartbreak Hill, I tried to regroup and focus on using even the slightest downhill to propel me forward. There were signs of my legs coming back to life as I hit the next three miles (miles 22-24) in 5:46, 5:50, and 5:47 pace. However, things started to get really tough over the last couple miles. My legs felt very heavy and the arms/shoulders started tightening up. Mile 25 was a 5:52 split.  

1 Mile To Go

With "1 mile to go", I tried to kick it in another gear but couldn't go any faster.  I crossed the finish in a respectable 2:33:13, which is my 2nd fastest marathon time and only 44 seconds slower than my PR. Ironically, I placed 119th Overall in the 119th edition of the Boston Marathon.  I'm very happy with my Boston performance.  I ran strong and almost even splits on a tough and very windy day. 

2:33:13 for 119th Overall

Official Marathon Splits

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 6 - 12 Training

Mon: AM - 6 miles easy with 4x30s pickups (7:15); PM - 4 miles easy (7:44)

Tue: AM - 13.1 miles with 10 miles (5:43) at marathon effort; Goal was to run at marathon effort, which based on my fitness is around 5:45ish.  I wanted to keep this workout on a flat route as much as possible, so I ran three loops of my usual 3-mile downtown loop (even though it's not entirely flat) and then added on a mile.  The first loop was all about loosening up the muscles and finding my rhythm.  I hit the first three miles right at 5:45 pace.  The 2nd loop (5:41, 5:44, 5:39) felt more controlled and comfortable than the first loop.  In the last loop and last mile I tried to relaxed as much as possible while getting a good feel of the pace and effort.  

Wed: AM - 6 miles easy (7:29); PM - 4 miles easy (7:13)

Thu: AM - 9.3 miles with 6x1/4 mile downhill repeats; ran fast and controlled with splits of 67, 67, 64 and 65.  PM - skipped run. 

Fri: AM - 5 miles easy (7:26); PM - 4.5 miles easy (7:22)

Sat: 16 miles long run (6:41); Ran the first 10 miles easy then the next 5 miles alternating between 1/2 mile at 5:45ish pace and 1/2 mile at normal long run pace, 1 mile cooldown. The first 10 were nice and easy averaging 6:53 pace. For the 1/2 mile fartleks I ran a rolling course. I practiced running marathon effort without looking at the watch. Ended up averaging 5:39 pace for the fast portions and 6:52 pace for the recovery. Really happy with the workout.

Sun: 7.3 miles easy (7:12)

Weekly Total: 75.3 miles on 10 runs/7 days
I'm starting to feel the legs freshening up  with the decrease in volume.  Just one more week and it's game time. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

March 30 - April 5 Training

Mon: AM – 8.4 miles easy with 6x20s pickups (7:03);  PM – 4.5 miles easy (7:58)
Tue: AM – 14.1 miles including 9 miles progression in 52:06 (5:48).  The goal was to run the progression in 3 mile blocks at 6:10 pace (18:30), 5:50 (17:30), and 5:30 pace (16:30) respectively.  Ran the segments in 18:25, 17:25, and 16:16. The first segment felt easy, the second one felt comfortable and the last segment was tough. Was really thrilled with the workout.  Running 5:25 pace for a 3-mile tempo alone is tough, so to do it at the end of a progression run is a good sign that I'm fit.  PM – 4.1 miles easy (7:24)

Wed: AM – 8.1 miles easy (7:04); felt good and smooth.  I’ve noticed that the legs have been feeling pretty good after a quality workout.  This shows that I'm able to recover from my workouts pretty quickly. Nutrition is probably the most important part of recovery.  PM – 3.9 miles easy (7:25)
Thu: AM – 6 miles easy with 4x20s pickups (7:06); PM – 4.5 miles easy (8:01)
Fri: 12 miles including 3-2-1 mile intervals with 3:00 rest/400m jog.  Goal was 5:30 pace for the 3 miles, 5:10-5:15 pace for the 2 miles and 5:00 for the mile.  Ran the workout on the track so the actual distances were 4800m, 3200m, and 1600m.  I ran 16:10 (5:22, 5:25, 5:23), 11:24 (5:12, 5:12) and 4:56, respectively.  The 3 miles felt good and comfortably hard, the 2 miles was tough, and the last mile hurt.  It was probably the first time breaking 5:00 for a mile in a workout.  
Sat: 20 miles long run (6:38).  Legs felt really good as if I didn’t run a workout yesterday.  First 10 miles were rolling/hilly and the last 10 fairly flat.  Averaged 6:30 pace for the last 10 miles.  
Sun: 7.4 miles (7:09)
Weekly Total: 93.1 miles on 11 runs/7 days
This was probably my best week of training.  Nailing the tough workouts on Tuesday and Friday has boosted my confidence and proves that I'm fit and ready for Boston.  With just two weeks away from raceday, it's time to freshen up the legs and peak to run Boston Strong. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 23 - 29 Training

Mon: AM - 8.25 miles easy (7:28); PM - 4.9 miles easy (8:15)

Tue: AM - 16.5 miles including 2x6 miles with 1/2 mile rec jog.  Goal was to run the first 6-mile segment at 5:45-5:50 pace and then speed up on the second one.  I ran 34:32 (5:45 pace) for the first segment and 33:40 (5:37 pace) for the 2nd segment.  This was a tough workout, but I was really happy to nail it.  I ran this same workout about 2 1/2 weeks before CIM and averaged 5:53 and 5:50 pace, respectively.  It's obvious that my fitness is at a much higher level.  PM - 3.5 miles easy (7:43)

Wed: AM - 6.2 miles easy (7:02);  PM - 4.6 miles easy (7:16)

Thu: AM - 11.5 miles with 10 miles moderate in 59:42 (5:58); Ran  a 1/2 mile easy and then went straight into the moderate effort. Started out with the first couple miles at 6:08 and then settled in at 5:53-5:59.  Was really surprised to see the pace drop to sub-6:00 pace compared to previous moderate workouts.  PM - 7.2 miles with 8x:45/2:00 on/off fartlek. It was a double quality workout day.  Ran the fartlek on a rolling course. 

Fri: AM - 3.8 miles easy (7:52); PM - 6.2 miles easy (7:17)

Sat: 20.5 miles long run (6:36). The first 10 miles (67:16) were fairly flat and then the last 10 miles (64:57) quite hilly.  Felt really strong on the hills.  Last 3 miles were mostly downhill to get some quad-pounding.  

Sun: 7.4 miles easy (7:03); Felt like I was jogging. 

Weekly Total: 100.6 miles on 12 runs/7 days
An excellent but tough week of training.  I got in 4 quality sessions with varied-paced workouts (tempo, moderate, fartlek and long run). I have one more week of hard training and then will begin my peaking phase.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 9 - 22 Training

March 16 - 22

Mon: AM - 8.5 miles with 6x30s pickups (7:02); PM - 5.1 miles (8:01)

Tue: AM - 10 miles easy (7:01). Legs started to feel a bit heavy and fatigue over the last couple miles.  PM - 4.1 miles easy (7:34)

Wed: AM - 10 miles with 16x400 with 1:00 rest and 3:00 jog/rest after every 4 reps. Goal was hit to the 400s in 75 to maintain some speed.  The added rest is because I'm coming off the race.  Rans splits of (75, 74, 74, 73), (74, 73, 74, 74), (73, 72, 72, 73), (73, 72, 73, 73).  PM - 5.1 miles 8:04)

Thu: AM - 10.1 miles easy (6:54); PM - 4.1 miles easy (7:47)

Fri: AM - 8.1 miles with 4x30s pickups (7:01); PM - 5.2 miles easy (7:36)

Sat: 20.3 miles long run with last 5 miles at marathon effort (6:30).  Planned a route with lots of hills (some very steep) and downhills.  Ran 6:35ish to high 6:40 pace for the first  15 miles.  On the last 5 miles, I ran most of it downhill to get some pounding on the quads.  The first mile (mile 16) was rolling, the next 3 miles at a gradual descent, and the last mile slightly uphill.  Ran splits of 5:57, 5;50, 5:45, 5:53, and 5:47.  Really happy with this long run.  

Sun: AM - 5.6 miles easy (7:18); PM - 5 miles easy (7:38)

Weekly Total: 101.2 miles on 13 runs/7 days
Really good volume considering it was the week after the half.  I felt like my legs recovered pretty quickly from the half.  I'm not surprised though, because I've gotten my recovery (nutrition) down to a science.  Thanks to Herbalife24!


March 9 - 15

Mon: AM - 8.5 miles easy with 6x30s pickups (6:56); PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:09)

Tue: AM - 15.1 miles with 10 mile tempo in 56:37 (5:40). Goal was to run at just under 5:50 to 5:40 pace. Ran 3 rounds of the 3-mile downtown loop and then a 1-mile loop.  The 1st 3-mile loop felt comfortable with splits right at 5:44-5:45.  On the 2nd loop I picked up the pace just a bit  and hit splits of 5:40, 5:40, and 5:38.  The 3rd 3-mile loop was faster at 5:37, 5:38, 5:34 and last mile in 5:35.  Happy with this tempo and how I felt overall.  PM - 4 miles easy (7:44)

Wed: AM - 6.2 miles easy (7:09); PM - 4 miles easy (7:45). Ran about an hour later than I usually do on my lunch time run.  Felt the difference because I started to get hungry on the run.  

Thu: AM - 8.2 miles with 6x400 w/ 400 rec jog.  Plan was to hit the 400s in 75s.  I ran 75, 73, 75, 74, 74, & 74.  PM - 4.2 miles easy (7:50)

Fri: 6 miles easy (7:30). 

Sat: AM - 14.8 miles with Rock'n'Roll DC Half-Marathon in 1:13:32 (5:37); 13th Overall, 1st in Division and 1st in Military Challenge.  Poor running conditions (rainy and cold) and a challenging course.  I went into the half aiming to run 1:12, but I knew it wasn't going to be easy with one steep hill and a handful of gradual climbs.  When I hit the 10-mile mark just a tad over 56 minutes I knew that a sub-1:13 was still in the cards, but was going to be tough.  I'd have to run a sub-17 last 5k, which I knew I was capable of.  However, a side-stitch at 11 miles that stayed with me the rest of the race and a long gradual hill on mile 12 threw away any hopes of a sub-1:13.  PM - 3.4 miles easy (8:13)

Sun: AM - 8.7 miles easy (7:09)

Weekly Total: 88.2 miles on 12 runs/7 days.
Overall, it was a good week of training that included a half-marathon race.  I'd call this a down week, but I'm not so sure it was with a long tempo and half-marathon race. I guess, in terms of volume, it was a down week, because I ended up with 88 miles whereas I've averaged 100+ miles/week over the last 8 weeks.   

Monday, March 09, 2015

March 2 - 8 Training

Mon: AM - 8.5 miles easy with 6x30s pickups (7:10); Treadmill.  PM - 4 miles easy (7:27)

Tue: AM - 13 miles with 8 mile tempo in 45:13 (5:40); Roads were too slippery from snow/ice, so I ran the workout on the treadmill.  Goal was to run the tempo alternating miles at 5:45-5:50 with 5:30-5:35 pace. Since I was running on the treadmill it was easy to switch speed. I alternated the speed between 10.3-10.4mph (5:49-5:46 pace) and 10.8-10.9mph (5:33-5:30).  Really good workout and I was surprised that the pace felt controlled.  PM - 4.6 miles easy (7:08)

Wed: AM - 8.5 miles easy (7:07); PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:24)

Thu: AM - 12 miles with 10 miles moderate progression; goal was to run 4 miles at 6:45, 3 miles at 6:15 and 3 miles at 5:45 on a slightly rolling course.  About 10 inches of snow fell, so I ended running on the treadmill again.  To simulate a rolling course, I increased the treadmill incline about every .2 miles from 2% to 4-5% grade. For the downhills, I ran some of it flat and some at -1.5% decline (my treadmill has a -2% decline).   I ran (6:45, 6:44, 6:41, 6:43), (6:14, 6:10, 6:10), and (5:45, 5:45 and 5:37). Workout felt comfortable and very controlled.  PM - 4 miles easy (7:41)

Fri: 10.5 miles easy (7:22)

Sat: 20 miles long run workout (6:29); First 10 miles easy on rolling hills and then 10x3:00 fast at the start of the last 10 miles.  I averaged 6:44 pace for the first 10 on rolling hills.  For the last 10 miles, the goal was to run the 10x3:00 starting at about MP and then progress down to 5:30.  I ran the first couple reps around 5:45-:48ish and then the remaining reps right around 5:30 pace.  I covered the last 10 miles in 62:08 (6:13 pace). 1.2 miles cooldown.

Sun: 8.6 miles easy (7:21); PM - skipped run. 

Weekly Total: 100 miles in 11 runs/7days
This has been the worst week (weather-wise) this winter.  I had to run on the treadmill for five consecutive morning workouts.  Well, I really shouldn't complain because I was still able to log another 100-mile week, my 8th consecutive 100-mile week of this training cycle.  The streak will end though because I'll decrease the volume a little bit this week to freshen up the legs for the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half on Saturday.  It will be my first race of 2015. With the way training has been going, I expect to run a new half-marathon PR.  We'll see.  

Monday, March 02, 2015

February 23 - March 1 Training

Mon: AM - 9 miles with 6x30s pickups (6:58); PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:57)

Tue: AM - 11.5 miles with 10x3:00 on/1:00 off. It was freezing cold (1 deg) and after one mile I thought about turning back home to hop on the treadmill.  I probably would have if it was just an easy run, but I had a quality session that I needed to get done on rolling hills. Ran the 3:00s at half-marathon effort and progressed down to 10K effort;  PM - 5 miles easy (7:35)

Wed: AM - 11 miles easy (6:52); PM - 5.1 miles easy (7:51)

Thu: AM - 4.5 miles easy (7:44); PM - 5.7 miles easy (7:28)

Fri: AM - 5 miles easy (8:03). Plan was to run a 20x1:00 on/off fartlek, but it snowed so I pushed the workout to later in the day; PM - 9.1 miles with 20x1:00 on/off (6:04 overall avg). Goal was to run the "on" at ~5:15 pace and the "off" at 6:15-6:20 pace.  I ended up averaging 5:12 and 6:20 pace for the on/off, respectively, and 5:43 pace for the 40 minutes.  Tough and good workout.

Sat: 22 miles long run on rolling hills (6:44). Really good long run on somewhat tired legs.  Averaged 6:50 pace for the first 11 miles and 6:38 for the second half.  Didn't take in any fluids or fuel during the run.  

Sun: AM - 8 miles easy (7:18); Legs felt surprisingly good with no soreness/tightness; PM -  2.5 miles easy (8:02).

Weekly Total: 103.6 miles on 13 runs/7 days
Another solid week of training in the freezing cold.  Friday's fartlek was a confidence booster because in the past I've struggled to maintain the moderate recovery pace for similar workouts.  Additionally, I was glad to knock out a really good hilly long run the following day on somewhat tired legs.  It's this kind of work that's going to pay off in Boston.  One more week of hard training and then I'll run my Boston tune-up race at the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half-Marathon on March 14.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 16 - 22 Training

Mon: AM – 8.5 miles easy with 6x30s pickups (7:01); PM – 4.5 miles easy 7:39). Massage in the evening. My first one in a long while. Calves were tender and glutes were tight.

Tue: AM – 14 miles with 10 miles tempo in 57:26 (5:45); It snowed ~6 inches overnight so I had no choice but to run the workout on the treadmill. Started out at 5:50 and worked down to 5:40ish. Thought the tempo would feel tough, but it actually felt smooth and controlled. Finished the workout feeling like I could go for a few more miles. PM – 4.1 miles easy (7:52)

Wed: AM – 10 miles easy (7:09); Freezing run. PM – 5.2 miles easy (7:40)

Thu: AM – 10.1 miles with 6x.33 fast/.67 easy (7:18); didn’t feel like running outside as the roads were still coated with snow and it was 8 deg with a real feel of -9. Ran the fast portions at 5:05-5:07 pace. Felt fast and controlled. PM – 5.1 miles easy (8:05)

Fri: 10 miles easy (7:05); -18 degrees real-feel called for a treadmill run.

Sat: 20 miles with 4x3 miles (17:40, 17:20, 17:01, 16:27) w/ 1/2 mile rec jog. Today was supposed to be an easy day with a 10-mile race tomorrow, but the race was cancelled due to weather. Glad they made the cancellation on Friday because it allowed me to adapt my training and fit in a long run workout. Ran a 4-mile warmup and then did 4 loops of the 3-mile downtown loop with a small 1/2 mile loop for recovery. The goal was to run each 3-mile segment in 17:45, 17:30, 17:15, and 17:00. I ended up running the workout in 17:40 (5:54, 5:53, 5:53), 17:20 (5:47, 5:47, 5:46), 17:01(5:39, 5:44, 5:38), and 16:27 (5:27, 5:31, 5:29). The first two segments felt easy, the third comfortable and the last one I ran aggressive. It started to snow and the winds picked up in the last segment which made things a little tough. Was really happy with the result of this workout.

Sun: 8.6 miles easy (7:32); It snowed ~8-10 inches in the late afternoon/evening with freezing rain overnight. I was okay with running on the treadmill.

Weekly Total: 100.1 miles on 11 runs/7 days.
This week was supposed to be sort of a down week with a 10-Mile race on Sunday. But since the race was cancelled, I got in a quality long run workout and ended the week right at 100 miles. I’m really happy with my current fitness and with a couple more weeks of hard training I should be able to improve my half-marathon PR at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half-Marathon. The course is tough though, so I’ll see. Boston is just 8 weeks away now.