Monday, March 26, 2012

3/26/12: Firing Up Ultra Season

Now that marathon season is out of the way, it is time to start training for ultra season!

Jen and I went for a 13 mile hike out in the Shenandoahs. We hiked up the steep White Oak Canyon climb (I was out on this trail back in June of last year), crossed over to the Appalachian Trail, did a few miles on the AT, and then hiked down through Cedar Run.

The forecase had called for rain, but we really lucked out and had some great weather and an awesome early spring hike.

Then yesterday I did about 25 miles on trails throughout DC. It sure feels good to get back on the trails and off the roads!

Nice view as we hiked up the canyon.

Me struggling to take a picture without dropping my iPhone down the falls.

Lower falls

You could see spring starting to come, and the tops of the trees had leaves in some sections

Looking at the falls through the trees. You can see some of the awesome spring colors.

View from the top of the Appalachian Trail.

Upper falls

This is a natural water slide. Looks like so much fun!

There were all of the cool looking flowers along the trail.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3/25/12: Cherry Blossoms!

Last weekend Jen and I went for a long walk around the national mall, the tidal basin, and Georgetown. Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom super early this year, and we got some great pictures.

Man, I do love me some Cherry Blossoms. Next up, Bluebells!

Monday, March 19, 2012

3/18/12: National Marathon Pics

These are some awesome pictures that Jen took during the race. The first bunch is from mile 14, and the last few are at the finish.

Thanks to both Jen and my Dad for coming out to the race to cheer me on!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

3/17/12: You Win Some, You Lose Some ...

And today I lost. Unfortunately I just had a really bad day at the National Marathon.

It started off well enough. For the first 6 miles I was clicking off 6:10s to 6:20s no problem. I felt really smooth and relaxed. Then around mile 7 my legs started to get way too tired too quickly.

I came through the half in 1:24. I had been aiming for 1:23, so I wasn't too far off, but I was MUCH more tired than I had planned. Then at mile 14 I started having serious cramping issues.

From there on out it was about managing the slowdown at first and then just surviving. It got pretty ugly, and I crossed the finish line in 3:09. I'm surprised at how this played out, as I really do think sub 2:55 was very doable, and even in not ideal conditions I should have been sub 3.

But sometimes there is not much you can do. My taper was great, I was in good shape, my stomach was fine, etc. I mean 4 weeks before I ran a 3:04 on a much tougher course no problem!

But I'm not going to worry too much about it. I will think about what I could do better or differently in the future, but sometimes this just happens. It was still a fun race, a good experience, another marathon notched, and a respectable time.

There will certainly be other races. Some of them will not go as well as I might like, but some will be awesome. Just have to roll with it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3/14/12: Ready to KATN

The hard work is all done. Now I just need to accomplish the difficult task of not doing much of anything the rest of the week.

I’ve had some key workouts over the past few weeks that line up exactly with how I like things to go leading up to a major focus race:

  • 27 days before: George Washington Birthday Marathon in 3:04. Very hard effort for a “training run” to help get the mind / body ready for racing. I like to do something like this about a month out. 4 weeks before running 2:55 in 2008 at Philly I did a 23 mile run at 7:05 pace. This was a bit of a faster pace and a longer run on a tougher course.

  • 13 days before: 25 miles at 7:48. If I taper too much and back off the long runs, I seem to lose some of the late race endurance, so 2 weeks out is an ideal time for a long effort. The goal in this run is to get in the miles and endurance without getting worn out. Mission accomplished.

  • 10 days before: 8 x 800 @ 2:44. Last major speed workout to build confidence and focus on leg turnover. This should be a hard workout but should not be a 100% effort. I felt great in this workout and was really comfortable. Hit the last 800 in 2:36 no problem. I was tempted to do 2 more repeats but held off to keep the legs fresher.

  • 7 days before: 13 miles with 10mi @ 6:27 pace. Medium length run to maintain endurance and get comfortable at marathon pace. The pace felt pretty doable, which is good I since I’ll need to hold that pace for an awfully long time on Saturday!

  • 4 days before: 6 miles with 1 x 1mi @ 5:45 and 1 x 800 @ 2:49. Short and easy speed workout to maintain the leg turnover but not get tired. Felt pretty good but was not yet 100% rested. This is just about right, as I still have 3 more very easy days to rest up and don’t want to be over-tapered

Training was certainly not perfect, but I think a lot of key pieces came into place. I’m hoping to run a PR and go sub 2:55 and think I should be in shape to do so.

Now I just have to get in the KATN mindset and get ready to unleash the beast on Saturday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3/1/12: Training Recap

Last week I managed just under 80 miles even with the hard effort at the George Washington Birthday Marathon. Aside from the race, they were all easy miles to make sure I fully recovered.

That leaves me in the last 3 weeks of training before the race! From here the focus is on dialing back the miles a bit, sharpening my speed, and getting in some marathon pace runs. I always feel like there is not enough time before a big race. On the bright side, hopefully that means that I'm not past my peak.

  • Saturday: 7 miles easy

  • Sunday: 28 miles. George Washington Birthday Marathon @ 3:04 + short warm up / cool down.

  • Monday: 8 miles easy + core and lifting

  • Tuesday: 12 miles easy

  • Wednesday: 8 miles easy

  • Thursday: 8 miles easy

  • Friday: 7 miles easy

  • Total: 78 miles