Sunday, October 23, 2011

10/23/11: Training Update


  • Saturday: 24 miles. Mountain run in the Massanuttens by Elizabeth Furnace

  • Sunday: 15 miles. Mostly on trails around DC. Did some lifting and core work afterwards

  • Monday: 12 miles. 8 easy in the morning, 4 easy in the evening

  • Tuesday: 6 miles easy

  • Wednesday: Off (traveling for work)

  • Thursday: 9 miles. 3 x 1mi @ 6:00, which felt harder than it should have

  • Friday: 8 miles. Moderate effort (probably around 7:30 or 7:40 pace)

  • Total: 74 miles

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10/16/11: Back to the mountains

I was really excited to get back to the mountains yesterday. I hadn't made it out that way since early July, and I've been looking forward to this run for weeks.

It was a beautiful fall day with great weather and great foliage. It was a chilly 43 degrees when I started, but I didn't stay cold for long with the 1,500 foot climb over the first 3 miles. It also warmed up quickly and was in the upper 50s to upper 60s for most of the run.

There was a great breeze up when I was higher up on the mountain, and I was in all my glory listening to the wind rustling through the leaves and taking in the fall colors.

I did about 23-24 miles and overall had a pretty solid run. I felt pretty weak on the climbs and on the technical sections, which wasn't surprising as I still don't have all my strength back. I was pretty pleased with my running on the flatter sections though, and I was really able to hammer the downhills.

This is the trailhead where I started the run. I took one look at this trail with the all the foliage and knew it was going to be a good day!





Looking out to the western ridge of the Massanuttens (I'm on the eastern ridge)



The western ridge again





Very nice foliage on the mountain I'm about to run up





There were tons of wildflowers on this trail. I didn't know these flowers grew in the fall!



The near range is the western ridge of the Massanuttens again. In the distance, you can just make out the Shenandoahs. It was much clearer in person but the lighting wasn't great for this picture.



This has got to be the most runnable stretch of the 71 mile Massanutten trail, which is typically narrow and very rocky singletrack trail.


I've been running in this area for years now and have covered hundreds of miles, but somehow I never found this lake before!



The peak just above and to the right of center is where I ran from


You can see the Shenandoahs much more clearly in the background. This was a great view, and the visibility was fantastic.


This is how the week ended up looking:


  • Saturday: Off

  • Sunday: 28 miles with Chicago marathon in 3:33

  • Monday: 2 miles easy

  • Tuesday: 11 miles in ~ 7:50

  • Wednesday: 7 miles easy in downtown Chicago

  • Thursday: 7 miles in 7:45

  • Friday: 10 miles easy

  • Total: 65 miles

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10/12/11: More running in Chicago!

So after the Chicago Marathon this weekend, I flew to San Antonio Monday night for a meeting on Tuesday. Then I flew back to Chicago on Tuesday night for a conference on Wednesay. Incredibly efficient use of time.

The upshot was that I was able to get out at dawn this morning for an incredible run along the lakefront. I was staying in a great location at the Hilton Chicago and was able to pop into Grant Park right outside of the hotel. I headed north along the lakefront for about 7 glorious miles.

The weather was perfect, and it was great to be able to watch the sun rise over the lake. Runs like these are what I really love about this sport. My legs were still beat up from pushing too hard in the marathon and from an overly exuberant 11 miles yesterday, but it still just felt awesome to be out there. One good thing about shorter days is being able to see more sunrises without having to wake up as early for runs.

I brought along the iPhone and took a few pictures en route.

The hotel I was staying at right along Grant Park


Looking out over fields towards the museum at dawn



For some reason, this picture came out very blurry, but it gives you some sense of how beautiful the sunrise was







Jen and I actually took engagement photos right around here


The Hancock building











This field is where the post marathon festivities were held. I spent a while after the race laying on the grass and pulling myself back together while drinking some outstanding Goose Island beer

Sunday, October 9, 2011

10/9/11: Chicago Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Chicago Marathon. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fast, but I got through a tough race and finished in 3:33.

The weekend actually ended up becoming quite the family event. Jen hadn't been planning to come for the weekend but was able to get a last minute trip with airline miles. Then Christine and Adam decided to drive up from Indiana to join in on the fun.

Dad Lewellen was able to reserve the corporate condo right in downtown Chicago. It was an amazing place on the 39th floor with fantastic views of the city and the lake. We all hung out there for the weekend, and it was a ton of fun spending time with everybody in such an amazing location. The condo was also a very conveniently located for the race and made logistics really easy.

(View from the condo out to the lake)



(Nighttime view down Michigan Avenue)

The race itself was a really tough one. With very little training post Lyme Disease, I assumed it would be tough and that something would go wrong. However, I didn't expect that everything would go so wrong.




The race started off fine. I was cruising along and clicking off 6:45 miles basically until mile 10 or 11. I felt very smooth until mile 7 or so but started to cramp up a bit at mile 8. This has happened before and in fact happened at the same point during my 2:55 run at Philly in 2008. I hoped it would go away as it had before, but unfortunately that was not the case.




I started dialing back the pace around mile 11 to 7:00 - 7:15, and I felt pretty good until mile 14 or 15. I ran through halfway in 1:30 and was hoping that I could cruise the rest in 7:15 to 7:30 pace and still have a pretty solid sub 3:10 finish. Alas, that was not the case.




My legs started to get very tired in addition to the cramping in my side still continuing. Mile 16 to mile 20 were a grind, and I was slowing down a lot. By mile 20 I was toast, and my stomach was really starting to act up. I started focusing more on getting my stomach better, and it seemed to work for a little while.




But by mile 22 I was in rough shape and had to start mixing in some walking. I continued to spiral down and hit a low just after mile 24 when I threw up everything in my stomach. I was actually surprised I threw up, and it didn't feel the same as some times when it had happened in ultras. I think it may have been more related to pushing my body too far when I wasn't in great shape than specifically what I was eating / drinking.




I still felt terrible after throwing up but was able to run most of the last 2 miles to the finish.




So it was not a great race, but I suppose that is to be expected 3 months after getting Lyme Disease with very little running inbetween. I was happy I was able to push through the lows and finish the thing. I'm also hoping that this will help kickstart me back into being in good shape and that I can really get things back on track from here.




Chicago was a great race. Aside from having the amazing support of family being out there cheering, it was a really fun and scenic course. The logistics at the start were disastrous, but otherwise it was well run and well organized. It got pretty hot again this year (into the 80s on parts of the course), but the heat really wasn't too bad, and it was a beautiful day.




I hope to come back to Chicago someday, and I plan to run it a whole lot faster next time. Thanks again to the family for making it an incredibly fun weekend!





(Right around mile 4. Running 6:45s and feeling strong)




(Veering towards the family from across the street at mile 12 or so)




(Coming to say hi at mile 12)




(In a world of pain about 400m from the finish. I remember feel WAY worse than I look in this picture)



(That wave was about all I could muster at this point)




(Post race on the bridge across the river)







(With Jen, Christine, and Adam in front of a silly Marilyn Monroe statue)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

10/1/11: Finally a good week of training

I finally strung together a good week of training.

My speed/tempo work was not my fastest, and I cramped up towards the end, but I ran some decent times. I was pretty worn out at the end of my long runs, but they also went pretty well. I also found it interesting that I needed a lot more fluid and calories than usual during the long runs. I guess I am less efficient after the time off.

But it was great to get back to some good solid training. Here is the summary:


  • Saturday: 20 miles @ 7:25 (much it was hilly trails)

  • Sunday: 20 miles + lifting

  • Monday: 10 miles

  • Tuesday: 14 miles with 2 @ 6:00 + lifting

  • Wednesday: Off (traveling for work)

  • Thursday: 6 miles with 4 @ 6:15 + lifting

  • Friday: 10 miles

  • Total: 80 miles