Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Recap

It's the end of the year, and time for an annual running recap....

Original Goals
Starting the year the goal was to get more organised about training, run half marathons for 6-7 months (getting down to sub 1:40) and then train for and run a "well-under-4-hour" marathon in December.

Faster than planned progress on the half times had that goal change from 1:40 to 1:35 and eventually 1:30.

Injury had the marathon goal pushed to 2008.

The Miles
Mileage for the year was 1,507, with 3 distinct phases:
1) Jan-May. ramping the miles until achilles tendon problems started.
2) Jun-Aug. very little running, deep water running in the pool. misery
3) Sep-Dec. recovery and rebuilding.

Here's the chart of monthly miles (blue is pool running)

The Races
10 races in 2007, every one of them was a new personal best (PB) for me. It is good to be new to running, since improvement comes fairly easily with a little training effort. I am hoping that trend continues for a few more years.

Here's the 2006 and 2007 PBs for distances from 5k to a full marathon... I'm most proud of my 1:29:56 in the half.

The Analysis
I have data and trending for pretty much everything, but the key is really the relationship between speed and heartrate. As you get fitter you can run faster at a given heartrate. If I trend heartrate/speed for my races there is a steady decline. Using that I can project my future performances and see if I am on track to meet them.

Here's the trending for 2007 (bubble size indicates the length of the run, blue line is 3 week trailing average)... Excepting the injury phase, it shows a pretty steady decline from 22ish to 19ish

Overall it was a very successful year for me - I end 2007 way stronger, fitter, faster and smarter (at least about running) than I started it. I went from running 40 miles per week to running over 60, and from 5 days/week to everyday. The achilles injury really changed everything. I realised that it is very easy to push too hard (especially up hills), and that I am not 20 anymore. I've learned a lot about what my body can, and can't put up with - ice has become my friend, stretching is now something that I do everyday. I also learned that it's OK to push thru extreme discomfort when racing, but probably not so smart to do that every day in training.

I'll publish my 2008 goals tomorrow

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekly Summary

Just finished the last full week of 2007.

A planned cutback week at just 42 miles. And, shock horror, I took an unplanned day off running!!! Day after Christmas I decided to just hang with the family playing on the kids Nintendo Wii and goofing off.

Despite the incredible laziness of missing a whole training day, I did not collapse, my legs didn't fall off and I don't appear to be any slower. So maybe I got away with it just this once.

Following Fridays time trail excesses it was an easy 8 this morning and an easy 10 yesterday. These were a little longer than planned as I felt I should make up some of the missed miles from Wednesday.

I will finish off the year with an easy, easy 5 miler tomorrow and then it's off to hopefully a big start for 2008 with a 10k race.

Friday, December 28, 2007

5k Time Trial

Friday again, which means race pace miles. Today's goal was to run a 5k up at the high school track. The pace was to be the goal pace for next week's 10k. If I can't run a 5k at 6:25 pace I am unlikely to run a 10k at 6:25 pace.

5k is 12.5 laps of the track. 6:25 pace is 19:56 for 5k, or 1:35.7 per lap. I planned to run 96 second laps. My previous fastest 5k was 20:38 (6:38 pace) so this was a big jump - but I am way fitter than I was when I last ran a 5k.

Weather was pretty much perfect for a fast run: Cloudy, no wind, cool. Warmed up for 1.5 miles, including a few sprints to get the legs moving.

Lap 1: 88 sec (that's 5:54 pace) - way too fast
Lap 2: 92 sec - still too fast
Lap 3: 95 sec - more like it
Lap 4: 93 sec - uh-oh, speeding up again
...went thru the first 1600 in 6:08
...and the first mile in 6:10, my fastest mile ever

Lap 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 were all 95-96 seconds I had found my 6:25 pace

Lap 12.5 - kicked it in 43 sec (5:46 pace - ouch!)

Overall Time 19:38, 6:19 pace.

It wasn't a flat out effort (although the last half mile was), and running those second and third miles at 6:25 seemed OK on the track. Could have probably run 6:25 further (especially if I'd started on pace).

So where does this leave me in terms of readiness for a sub 40 minute 10K?
McMillan running calculator shows a 19:38 is equivalent to a 40:47 (which would be a 56 second PR for me). A 40:00 10K would be equivalent to a 19:15 5k (6:12 pace). My all out 5k in a race should be faster than 19:38, but probably not as low as 19:15.

So that means on a good course, and a good day, with a good performance I should be able to go under 40:47, and if things went perfectly raceday adrenalin may get me down close to 40 minutes. Getting under 40 will require some significant planet alignment next Tuesday (especially given the fact that it is not a fast course - has some rocky parts, and is usually windy).

So I will go for it. Try to get through the 5k mark in 20 minutes with good pacing, and then spend the second half trying to catch the people who are ahead of me, or if things aren't going so well, spend it trying to stay ahead of the people behind me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Tempo

Merry Chrsitmas! After a morning of festive fun (think I pulled a muscle playing with the kids new Nintendo Wii) I set out for a quick 20 minute/3mile tempo. 1 mile warmup, 3 miles at 6:44 (true tempopace) and then a mile or so back home.

A gorgeous day, probably low 60's - I think Al gore is on to something.

The course goes uphill (100') for 1.25 miles and then back down over the next 1.75. Run up a little too fast and the whole 3 miles feels a little hard. Time was 6:45 so I was pretty much on track. 5.2 miles overall.

Yesterday was a very pedestrian 5 mile recovery run at 8:33 pace, just undoing all the damage done by Sunday's long run. Wednesday and Thursday are 6 and 7 milers at easy pace. Friday is my no-fun pace day; trying a 5k at 6:25 pace (19:55) which is gonna suck. Easy 10 Saturday and easy 6 Sunday for a short week of about 44.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Suffering Sunday

I'm beginning to realise that all those numbers in my running schedule may look good in excel, but each one of them actually needs to be run. And the cells that contain big numbers take some considerable time and effort. Today's number was 19. And not just a simple 19, a 19 followed by 9FM, which means the final 9 miles are to be run at marathon pace.

So off I go, hoping for 10 miles at about 8-8:15 minute pace, and then 9 miles at 7:09 pace. Weather is perfect (sunny, no wind, 50 degrees), the course has some hills, 1 big one thru mile 9 and another thru mile 13, so one slow and one fast.

First 10 go by fine and I'm thru the slow part (10.3 miles at 8:01 pace) and it's time to pick it up. First 1.5 miles are easy to run in the low 7's as they are slightly downhill/flat. Then it climbs back up to 400' and as I try to keep the effort up I can feel my heartrate climbing fast (jumps from 155 to 165 pretty much instantly). As I reach the top I'm running slow at 7:45 (36 seconds off pace) which is aboout right for a big hill. I keep the effort level and pretty soon I'm running around 6:40-6:50 as it flattens and starts downhill. Take another gel and some water down the hill (which is not easy when running fast) and then try to keep things on track for the 5 miles home.

Manage to hold sub 7 thru about 16 miles and then I have an uphill mile; not huge, but steady and I was slowed right down to 7:30 pace. A tough mile! As it flattened out I picked it up again and finished fast with a 7:05 mile. Total was 18.76 miles in 2:23:18 (7:38 pace) - 10.3 at 8:01 and 8.46 at 7:11.

Felt good to running around 7 minute pace after almost 19 miles. Now all I need to do is add a 7.45 mile run at 7:38 pace to the end of that and I've run my Boston qualifying marathon.

Here's the elevation, heartrate and split paces.....

With an easy 8 yesterday my weekly total was just over 63 miles. My first time ever North of 60 and I'm feeling pretty strong. It's now time for an easy cutback week with just 44 miles planned (although it contains a sub 20 minute 5k pace run at the track on Thursday) as I prepare myself for my super-stretch-aint-gonna-happen-no-way-in-hell goal of sub 40 minutes for a 10k on New Year's Day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Funless Friday

Friday already - which has become the reality check day for my aggressive race goals. All the other days are fine; the increased mileage, the faster/longer tempo runs, the marathon pace long runs. but this 10k race pace stuff is killing me.

Plan was 2x2miles at 6:25 pace. Did 1x2miles last week and it was horrible.

1-1.5mile warmup and then I eventually decided I had to start. Focused on settling down into a steady pace and tried to keep things controlled. First mile went by in 6:26 and it wasn't too bad. Picked things up a step in the second mile and ran a 6:21. So 12:47 for the 2 miles. That last half mile wasn't nice, but it wasn't horrible - definitely better than last week.

Walked/jogged for 4 minutes and then it was time to go again. Within half a mile I was hurting, and off pace (6:32ish). I knew right then that a 10k at this pace is unlikely to happen in 10 days and considered bagging the workout. However, I thought back to all that crappy time spent pool running in the summer and decided I could manage another 10 minutes of pain. Picked it up a bit and finsihed the 3rd mile in 6:24. Not feeling very good though. Mile 4 was zero fun (none of that runner's high people talk about). First half was just tough but the last half mile was pretty much a sprint effort - hurt more than anything I've run recently. I don't think I could have gone much quicker if I was running for a medal. But the last mile was my fastest at 6:21, with the second half being at 6:13 pace. 12:46 for the 2 miles.

So on paper, a successful workout - hit both 2mile times, and got faster throughout the workout. But the thought of 6.2 miles without any rest gaps is pretty daunting, and to be honest I don't think I'm ready for a sub 40 minute 10k. I'll try to run a sub 20 minute 5k (3.1 miles) next Friday at the school track, which I think I can manage, but doing that twice on raceday will be an adventure.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SF running

Stayed in San Francisco last night, so got do this morning's early run up there. Ran from North Beach, out to the Golden Gate bridge and back. A beautiful, crisp, sunny morning for a comfortable 8 minute pace 8 miler.

It's back to the streets of Los Altos tomorrow morning for 10k pace work, which I am already not looking forward to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Midweek Update

Quick update - work is getting busy.....

Monday - bad day - sick. started towards end of sunday's 18 miler, felt like throwing up but didn't. think i have kids' stomach flu. crashed out sunday evening and slept for 14 hours straight. woke up feeling still bad, stayed home. by 5pm was sort of ok so ran an easy 5 miles, despite liz's complaints.

Tuesday - great day. work was ugly, so couldn't run until the evening. had a great 6.5 mile tempo at an average of 6:53.

Wednesday - early morning run, decided to run a little longer and did 9 miles easy (8:11 pace). felt very good, but i should have worn gloves.

if work permits, it's an easy 9 tomorrow, yucky pacework (2x2m 6:25) friday, easy 7 saturday, and 19 sunday - should be about 62 for the week. and more importantly (fingers crossed) no new injuries!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekly Update

Finished the week with a long, long run. A slight navigational error turned my 17 miler into an 18 miler - not really what I needed to be honest.

First 3.5 miles was easy at 7:45 pace, then it was time for the 7 miles at marathon pace. I'm not too sure why I chose those 7 since that was where it started getting hilly. I managed 7:14 pace (vs the planned 7:09) for the 7 but it was mostly uphill - the redbox shows the "fast" part....

After recovering at the 10.5 mile mark with a slow half mile, a gu and some water I ran the rest pretty easy. That climb thru mile 14 was slow at 8:30 pace but other than that I was running about 7:45.

Overall it was 17.86 miles in 2 hours 16 minutes - 7:38 pace. which is coincidentally the pace for a 3:20 marathon, which is my Boston marathon qualifying time. I don't think I could have run another 8.2 miles at 7:38 but I'm pretty sure I will be able to do that in 5 months.

Total for the week was 58.5 miles, a new high for me. Next week should be a little more, at just over 60 with a 19 miler on Sunday (and I will be more careful with my navigation)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Easy Eights

8 miles at 8:00 pace was the plan this morning. For me, a much easier task than trying to run 2 miles at 6:25, that's for sure. Weather was warmer; mid 40's vs low/mid 30's.

Kept everything easy, running by feel/effort instead of pace and averaged exactly 8:00 pace, but ran a little long at 8.96. Now that I've added some harder workouts to the week, I'm really enjoying these leisurely 8-10 milers.

Tomorrow is a 17 miler - with 7 miles fast (marathon pace, 7:09). Looking back over my running logs, I have only run 17 miles 4 time before. Those were my 2 marathons and 2 training runs (1 of 19, 1 of 21).

Times for those 17 milers were as follows
1) 19 miler run/walk with my aidsmarathon running group
.....17 miles at 3:12:50 - average pace 11:18
2) 20 miler with running group
....this one doesn't really count as it was split up 5:10:5
3) Silicon Valley Marathon
....17 miles at 2:31:41 - average pace 8:54
4) Honolulu Marathon
....17 miles at 2:36:44 - average pace 9:13

That lack of proper long runs probably explains why those 2 marathons were such trainwrecks. It's surprising I even finished. By comparison, I have sixteen 17+ runs planned over the next 5 months leading up to Edinburgh!

Tomorrow's course is flat/rolling thru mile 7 then it climbs up to 400', drops thru 12, back up to 400' thru 14 and then drops back for the last 3. I'll probably do the fast miles between 3 and 10 which has a net uphill of about 200'. If I'm feeling good at 10 I'll keep up the pace until the climb starts again at 12 to give me 9 fast miles. Time should be about 2:11 (10 miles at ~8:10 and 7 miles at 7:10) - I'm certainly in much better shape than I was for those first 2 marathons.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Not Built for Speed

I'm beginning to dislike Fridays.

Plan today was to run 2 miles at my goal 10k race pace. I did 2x1m last week and it was unpleasant to say the least. The logic is that 55 miles of training later I have hopefully increased my capacity enough to be able to to do those 2 miles without any recovery between them.

I have a street loop that is about 1 mile and has no crossings etc to worry about, it isn't completely flat but close enough. Did a warmup for a mile or so, which was definitely needed given that it was about 30 degrees.

Then it was time to go! First half mile went by in 3:12, so I'm on pace, second half a little slower at 3:17 - 6:29 for the first mile (4 seconds slow, which is almost half a minute in a 10k). Picked it up a step in the 3rd half and did 3:10 and managed to hold it thru the end to finish with a 3:11 - 6:21 second mile. Average for the 2 was 6:25 - so a success, but it wasn't any fun at all. Heartrate max'd at 174, whereas last week doing the 2x1miles I hit 176 in each mile, so I guess that's a good thing.

However, I am really concerned about my ability to run 6.2 miles at that pace in just 17 days. I just don't see how it can happen. Next week I'll do 2x2miles and then the week after try to run 5k (3.1 miles) in 19:55. Those two are probably achievable, but to do 6.2 of these in a row I am going to need some serious race day adrenalin, or a strong tailwind.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chilly 8-9

pretty cold this morning - it was just below freezing when i set out. but it was sunny and there was no wind, so i was warm enough with gloves and long sleeves. ran a steady 8.6 miler with a couple medium hills. kept the pace easy in the high 7's/low 8's, averaging 7:54 overall. all in all, a very comfortable run.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Longer Tempo

This morning it was tempo time, but instead of 2x3miles with a 2 minute recovery I decided to go 1x6miles. Basically that means I get to run about 15 seconds slower and get the same effect. I feel I've been running too many fast miles recently and I have a 10k coming up which means a lot more miles at 6:25. So 6 miles at 7:00 is much easier on the legs than 2x3miles at 6:44.

Easy mile warmup and then started on a 6 mile route that went up about 100', rolled up and down a bit and then dropped back down. Tried to focus on steady effort, instead of worrying about pace. Turned out pretty good - kept things basically about 160 HR and the 6 mile section was average of 7:00 pace. Easy mile home for 8.35 at 7:15 pace. I think I will extend all of my tempos this way and go further, but a little slower.

Yesterday was a 5 miler starting slow, but ending up in the high 6's. And Monday was a very leisurly recovery run of 5 miles at a relaxing 8:30 pace. Steady 8 tomorrow and then some unpleasant 10k pace miles (1x2mile) on Friday.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekly Update

Wrapped the week up this morning with a good 15 miler. Cold start at 36 degrees but it was sunny with no wind - pretty much perfect running conditions. Plan was 15 miles with miles 9-14 at current marathon pace (7:09).

Set off quickly and covered first 2.5 miles at 7:25 pace (should have been more like 8:15). Started uphill and the next 2.5 miles was at 8:23 pace, but I had climbed 500'. An easy rolling mile at 8:00 pace and then I went downhill. Everything felt great and I hammered out a 6:25 mile. - I just love running fast downhill! It kills the quads as I found out last weekend, but they already felt stronger. Forced myself to ease up and took the next 2.5 miles at 8:05. Got to the start of my "fast" 5 miles having averaged just under 10 miles at 7:45.

Started with a steep uphill (150' climb) which was slow at 7:50. Then it had a couple rollers for 1 1/2 miles which went by at 7:15. Hit the flats and clocked 3 miles at 7:02 pace, which was just on the bad side of comfortable. Overall the fast part was 5.5 miles at 7:13, with some meaningful hills. Jogged it in for the final mile and finished at 15 miles in 7:37. A good run, although probably a little too aggressive to start.

Total was 46 for the week. Next week ramps up to 57, with a 2x3mile tempo on Wed, 1x2miles pace (6:25) on Friday and 17 miles with 7 fast (7:09) on Sunday.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Wow - that's hard

OK - so I did the planned 2 fast miles - 6:18 for #1 and 6:25 for #2

Learned a few things...
1) I have no sense of pace when I am running that fast
2) I could run ONE mile under 6:00 if I really went for it
3) 6:18 is hard for me to run, but that 6:25 was even harder
4) I doubt I could run 6 miles at 6:25 right now, even with 2 minute breaks every mile
5) I am likely to be in real trouble on Jan 1st for my 10k attempt

And it all looks so good in excel.....

Ugly Math Problem

Just about to go out for my Friday pace run and I have uncovered an ugly math problem. The goal is to run some miles at the pace of my next race. If it's a 5k I'll run fewer miles, but faster miles than if it's a half marathon. Next race is a 10k and my goal time is just under 40 minutes - which is 6:25 pace.

The problem is that my current PR for a single mile is 6:30. So somehow my 10k pace (6.2 miles) is now faster than my 1 mile best time ever. Seems like I should have perhaps been working on my speedwork somewhere along the line.

The plan is 2x1 mile at 6:25, which will be 1 mile warmup, 1 mile at 6:25, recovery for a couple minutes, another mile at 6:25, then easy running for 5 miles total.

Let's see what happens.....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Intermediate Race Goals

Been working thru my marathon training and have set some goals for the races that I'm doing between now and May. I've decided to set aggressive goals and then back off if necessary, Vs setting easy ones and possibly overachieving.

The basic plan is to get to 1:25 for a half marathon in mid April, which will be fairly tough, but if I do it I'll be around 3:00 fitness for a marathon. Doesn't mean I need to try to run one in 3 hours, but it means that in theory I could.

Here's a chart of my half marathon progress since my first race back in October 2006. Yellow dots are true half marathons, white dots are half marathon equivalent times derived from shorter races (mostly 10Ks).

I need some very solid progress to get to 1:25, but if I train well, avoid injury and race well I can do it.

Moving back to reality, I ran this morning and things are back to normal. Did a steady 7.5 miler at around 7:30 pace. Managed to dodge the raindrops but winter is definitely upon us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Confirmed for Scotland

Got my confirmation today from the race organizers of the Edinburgh Marathon. I have a guarenteed spot based on my half marathon time. I have never actually "qualified" for a race before, so this is a big milestone in my short racing career. But, to be honest, 1:35 for 40+ is a pretty soft marathon qualification standard. Anyway, I'm signed up and I have my flights booked. London is now officially off my list for 2008 - maybe in a couple years I'll do it.

My brother and sister are also guarenteed for Edinburgh since they are offering spots to anyone who got turned down for the London Marathon. So it will be a Fletcher family affair.

The course isn't finalised yet due to some roadwork happening around the time of the race but it looks to be fast and mostly flat - there is a downhill section the first few miles, and very few uphills, which is good. Weather looks like it will be pretty good, but this is Scotland so just about anything can happen.

Now all I have to do is train for the next 6 months without getting injured. I have reset all my training paces based on CIM and have a solid plan laid out thru May. Barring any injuries I should be in the best shape of my life by race day. Equivalent perfomance for a full marathon, based on my 1:30 half is 3:07:39 - but I don't buy that. My dubious, unscientific research has shown that very few people achieve their equivalent times, so I am going to aim for 2 VDOTs slower (go back to May to see more on this) - which is 3:14:06. I'll do my training as if I am running 3:07, but ease back on race day. (At least, that is what I am saying right now). Over the next few months I will run some more races and adjust my training paces and race goals accordingly.

This morning I bagged the tempo run and just ran an easy 7 miler at 8:00 pace. Didn't think it wise to go out and thrash my legs again when they are just starting to feel normal again after Sunday. Easy miles again tomorrow and then a little pace running on Friday (Next race is a 10k so I'll be running 2x1m at 6:26 pace).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Still Functioning

Ran an easy 5 this evening up at the track. Things all feel good - quads and calves a little tight but nothing unexpected. Let's see how things are for some tempo work tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 3, 2007

CIM Race Report

I am finally back at the computer after stopping off in San Francisco last night to celebrate my birthday (and my race!), so here is the race report from yesterday.

I was running the first 2 legs of a 4 person relay as part of the California International Marathon. This gave me just over 13.1 miles and they had a timing mat at the half marathon stage. My relay partner was injured so it was just me, so I was just planning to race to the 13.1 mat and then take the bus home. Most other people were running the full marathon.

Pre Race
Slept really badly - hotel was nosiy and we had a bunch of partiers near the room. Buzzer went off at 5:15am when I had just fallen asleep. Ate, drank, took care of "other" business, showered and headed to the bus about 5:45 (I stayed at the finish so had a 26 mile bus ride to the start). It was chilly out, high 30's and the wind was blowing. Forecast was to get to about 15 mph but not get much warmer. Good running weather if the wind doesn't get up too much. Bus got us to the start about 6:35, and by the time I'd pee'd, dropped off my sweats (I decided to run in shorts/singlet despite the cold, but did wear gloves) and got to the startline (I went way up front), it was 6:57! Got my Garmin GPS locked onto the satellites with about 30 seconds to spare. Jumped up and down to pretend to warmup and we were off at 7:00:30!

First 5 Miles
My plan was 1:32 (7:01 pace) but I was feeling gung-ho so decided to run with the 3:00 marathon pace group to start (6:52 pace). I figured if it was too tough I could always drop back a little. Plus, it's a rolling course and I wasn't sure how agressively to run down or up so wanted the experience of the pacer to guide me. Start was good, most people up the front were running pretty well so I wasn't dodging people, and I hooked up with the 3:00 pacer within the first 1/2 mile and settled down right on his heels. Thru mile 5 we rolled up/down and dropped about 125' overall. Splits were 6:54, 6:44, 6:46, 6:45, 6:47 - 33:56 at the 5 mile marker. Felt pretty good but knew I was on the edge at this pace.

Miles 6-8
About mile 5 I ask the pacer what his plan for the half is and he tells me that he's going to run 1:29!. So instead of being 2 minutes faster than I planned, it was 3 - Not a big difference but when you are at your limit it doesn't take much to make a good day turn bad. This means an average of 6:47 - which is only 4 seconds slower than my 10k pace. I figured that I was going to be in a lot of trouble trying to do that for 13.1 miles and considered easing off. Instead I decided to hang with the group thru 8 miles and then decide what to do. Splits 6, 7 & 8 were 6:48, 6:49, 6:49 - to get thru 8 miles at 54:29. On the way I finished the first 10k in 42:06 which is only 23 seconds slower than my 10k race a few weeks back. This was obviously not going to last.....

Miles 9 & 10
OK, by now it's hurting and I know I am not hanging with these guys thru the half. The pacer was relentless and I was way out of my depth. However, I know from Honolulu that it is very lonely once you lose the pacegroup so just decided to hang as long as I could and then gut it home on my own, hoping to get under 1:32. Dropped off a little in mile 9 but kicked to catch up, did that once more in mile 10 but by the 10 mile mark they were about 30' ahead. Splits for 9 & 10 were 6:54 and 6:55 to get thru 10 at 1:08:18. But I knew the pace group was gone and all of a sudden I was running in no-man's land, and 3.1 miles seemed like an awful long way.

Miles 11 & 12
This was now painful, I had run way faster than I had planned and it was now payback time. Mile 11 was ugly at 7:08 and then mile 12 started with an uphill - not much, just about 75' over 1/2 mile but it was bad - I focused on catching people ahead. I dragged myself up that hill to do 12 at 7:10 pace. Time at 12 was 1:22:36.

Final 1.1 mile
I was tired and my ability to do math was impaired but I figured that I was easily under 1:32 but that 1:30:00 was going to require something I didn't have left inside. Knew it was 7:24 for the 1.1 but struggled to work out what that meant exactly for pace. About half mile to go I could see the 13 mile marker and the balloon banner for the halfway point (my finish line!). I sprinted, which got a great response from the crowd (Since this is a full marathon there aren't too many people sprinting for the halfway point). I crossed 13 miles at 1:29:19 and had worked out roughly that the final .11 was about 50 seconds. Shit - not gonna break 1:30 but I found a kick somewhere and covered the final stretch in 37 seconds (5:38 pace) to cross the line at 1:29:56. I couldn't believe it! A PR by over 4 minutes and I'd met all of my goals, including the "aint-gonna-happen" stretch goal.

I quickly stumbled off the course to avoid being run over, much to the confusion of the crowd since the relay exchange was still 1/2 mile up the road and the finish was 13.1 miles away, but I was too exhausted to explain. Fortunately, an aid station was 100' up the road and I drank 4 gatorades and 3 waters then jogged slowly down to the relay exchange to get the bus back to the finish line.

I got back to the finish about 2:50 race time so went to the line just as my pace 3:00 pace group was coming over - Pacer crossed at 2:59:46 - awesome. Group was smaller than when I last saw it about 16 miles back. Shook his hand and thanked him for getting me thru the first half. I also promised that next year I'd do all 26.2 with him.

But boy, am I feeling it today! Those fast downhill miles trashed my quads and I have been forced to take an unplanned day off running. Hopefully I can stretch it all out tonight and get some easy miles in tomorrow.

Next up - New Year's Day 10k and the only natural goal is to go for sub 40, or 6:26 pace (which is about the equivalent of a 1:28:30-1:29:00 half). Another big stretch goal, but I seem to be hitting them right now.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


1:29:56 for the half! Just about killed me but a PR by over 4 mins and met my "aint-gonna-happen" stretch goal. More details when I get back to the PC.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ready To Go

Tomorrow is race day. Weather forecast calls for 40 degrees, cloudy and 11mph wind from the SSE at 7am (start time), although it is supposed to feel like 33. Weather at the end is only a few degrees warmer, and the wind is picking up to 16.

Low temperature and cloudy is good (I bought some new gloves), the wind not so good. The course is runs south 1m, then west 6m, then south 7m, and then west to the halfway point so it's going to be a combination of crosswind/headwind - not great. Hopefully it'll be lighter than forecast and I'll be finished before it gets stronger!

The second half of my 2 person relay team is not running due to injury so I'll just be running hard to the 13.1 half marathon point and then walkinging/crawling to the relay exchange at 13.5m. Then I'll take the bus back to the finish and our team will be an official DNF. I will get back in time to watch the race winners who should be in around 2:15 for the individuals and 2:25 for the first relay team. Maybe I should jump back in about 2:20 at mile 26 and post a miraculous 2:22 finish for relay victory!