Saturday, May 31, 2008

May Summary

5 months of 2008 are over, and things are going well. Obviously the big event this month was the marathon.

May Plans and Actuals
--Edinburgh Marathon 5/25 - Sub 3 hour was the stretch goal
......Ran 3:06:13
......Also ran a crappy 10k but I'm not talking about that
--Planned mileage of 80,70,55,63
--Planned monthly mileage around 260
--Run everyday until marathon, not sure of week after
......missed May 9th, skipped 3!! days afterwards

June Plans
--Run everyday except 6/23
--Mileage about 265
--Weeks 64,69,64,48
--10k race on 6/21, goal 39-40 minutes
--Start speedwork for 10k training

Beyond June the plan is to keep up the speedwork, hold mileage around 70-80, and run 1-2 more 10Ks, hopefully getting down under 38 minutes. Then it's a half marathon (San Jose Rock'n'Roll) on October 5th. Haven't picked a goal yet but it'll be somewhere between 1:20 and 1:25.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Aftermath

Official race results are up and I came in 233rd place out of 6,681 finishers at 3:06:13. There were about 11,000 full marathon entrants, so they ended up with over 4,000 either as no-shows or people who didn’t finish. I am very happy being in the top 2%.

My time for the first half was 1:32:45 (7:04 pace) vs a plan of 1:35:36 – so 2:51 ahead of pace. Time for second half was slightly slower than the first at 1:33:28, but still 0:56 faster than the plan of 1:34:24.

Analysis shows that the headwind did not slow me down as much as I had planned (30 seconds per mile) or speed me up as much (15 seconds mile). Fastest mile was mile 19 at 6:48, which was when we first left the wind and ran thru a country park, with a slight downhill. Slowest miles were 7, 15 and 16, at 7:21 which were all very windy. Overall the pacing was good, with only one mile more than 10 seconds slower than plan. I really think that the high mileage training boosted my strength so that the windy miles weren’t that big a deal. I passed a lot of people during miles 11-15 (the windiest section), when I gained 1:41 against the plan.

I didn’t run Monday or Tuesday but did go out for a run in Poole on Wednesday. It was raining but not cold or windy, so pretty nice conditions for a run. Ran out to the beach which has a good hill about mile 3. Started at 8ish pace but was feeling good – could feel a little tightness in the quads but they loosened up pretty quickly and soon got down to 7:20ish. Kept it up over hill and went out to the beach and ran along the front. On the way back I hit the hill hard and got down to 7:00 on the way up, and down around 6:00 on the way down. Overall 8.35 miles at 7:20 pace and all the muscles felt good.

Travel day yesterday (Thursday) so no running. Today I’ll do an easy 5-6, same on Saturday and probably an easy 10 miler Sunday.

Bizarrely, I think I may have broken my foot during the race. I remember a sharp pain across the top of my right foot about mile 21 but didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. By Monday I could feel it when I walked on it, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It isn’t swollen, so perhaps it’s not broken, but just a bruise. Once I get running it’s OK as the weight goes forward to the toes and this is in the back half of the foot. If it doesn’t sort itself out by Monday I’ll go get it checked out. I guess you have to expect something like that if you run a marathon in the lightweight shoes. Hopefully it’s not a real problem.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Edinburgh Marathon

So today was the big race. 6 months of training to see if I could finally run a decent marathon..... It's late, I'm tired so I'll add some "color" and details tomorrow - but here's the basic facts and a couple pictures......

The Background
started running 2 years ago in April 2006, did 2 marathons (both ugly, painful races - 4:10 in california and 4:26 in hawaii) with insufficient training and promised i wouldn't run one again until i could do one "properly". messed up my achilles running too many hills in may 2007 and spent 3 months pool running. Crawled back onto dry land Sept '07, picked up the training and by mid November '07 was back to pre-injury fitness levels. Started on a big training plan (27 weeks, 1,735 miles, 107 mile peak mileage) for Edinburgh and today was the time to see if it had worked or not.

The Course, Conditions and Race Plan
Theoretically it's a fast course, if conditions are good. 200' downhill in first 5 miles then pretty flat to the end. But if it's windy, it's a headwind from mile 5-18 and then a tailwind from 19 to 26. Today the wind was 20MPH with gusts in the mid 30's, so it was not a real PR course. About 11,000 runners plus 3,000 doing a relay.

My plan was for 3:10 - I'd toyed with going for sub 3 but the weather said no.

Miles 1-5
I was in the second corral/pen so got a good start just 13 seconds after the gun. It's a fast start as it's sheltered from the wind and downhill. No mile markers 'til mile 3 - here's the splits

1-3 21:19/20:31
4 7:01/7:01
5 7:13/7:09
So at mile 5 I was 34:48 against a plan of 35:33 - 45 seconds in the bank!

Miles 6-10
We hit the coast, and also the headwind in this section and there were some tough spots. Gu'd at 5.5 and felt pretty good.
6 7:18/7:16
7 7:18/7:18
8 7:20/7:04
9 7:26/649
10 7:16/7:04

So after 10 miles I was 1:10:33 against a plan of 1:12:12 and feeling great - 1:39 banked and feeling strong!

Here's a photo from mile 9

Miles 11-16
This was the worst section - direct headwind, and the plan reflected that. I started chatting with another runner (#1242) at mile 14, which helped a lot.

11 7:28/7:02 - fast!
12 - missed the marker
12-13 15:10/14:20 - still fast!
14 7:32/7:17
15 7:32/7:20
16 7:31/7:15
Crossed 16 at 1:53:56 vs 1:57:24 plan, so 3:28 ahead of schedule!

This was a big segment for me, managed to stay strong and make up big time in some pretty brutal winds right on the coastline.

Miles 17-20
This section left the coast and went round some old house. Felt great to be out of the wind.

17 7:21/7:02
18 7:22/7:04
19 7:15/6:57
20 6:46/7:03 - overly optimistic planning.....
Crossed 20 at 2:22:14 vs plan of 2:26:09 - still picking up time and 3:55 ahead

Miles 21-25
The last 5 miles had the tailwind and I rolled nicely thru these. My big training weeks and many, many 20+ mile runs kept me strong. Only 1 person passed me (in fact that's from the half way point) and I went by dozens and dozens of fading runners. I could feel it in my quads by 23 but I was never close to bonking or cramping.

21 missed marker
22 14:07/12:56 - short at 1.84 miles
23 7:01/8:29 - long at 1.19 miles
24 7:01/6:23 - short at 0.89 miles
25 7:07/7:55 - long at 1.1 miles
so they messed up the markers bigtime on this session, so who knows where I was. Assuming mile 25 was right I was at 2:57:58 vs 3:01:24 - which was 3:26 ahead.

Final 1.2
I knew sub 3:05 wasn't going to happen so decided to not kick from 1.2 miles out. Instead just focused on getting the person ahead and sprinting once I got into the stadium for the last .22 miles.
26 7:01/6:55
26.22 1:36/1:20
Hit that last .22 at about 6 minute pace in front of a packed grandstand and it felt great!

Final time 3:06:13 - A huge PR of 1:03:57.

I was very happy with the result. I ran a smart race and didn't get myself into trouble. I think I was probably in good enough shape to do sub 3:05 but sub-3 was never going to happen in that wind.

Here's the finish line photo......

The results don't come out til Tues/Wed, but the winner was 2:25 - here's his story

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Training is Done

A short 3-4 mile run brings this marathon training program to an end. Now it is just the race, which starts in just under 23 hours.

It's been a long training program at 27 weeks and 1,735 miles. 195 runs spread over 188 days. Average weekly mileage of 65 miles, with a peak at 107. That's a lot of training for one race; I really hope I don't screw it up by doing something stupid.

The training ended up as much higher mileage than initially planned. Originally it was supposed to peak about 75 miles, but I just started running longer, and then added in the second run some days and before I knew it, I'd had 7 weeks over 80 miles. Lots of long runs (10 at 20+ miles, and 8 at 15-20 miles), lots of tempo runs, but very little speedwork other than strides.

I have pretty much been on the edge of injury the whole time and had one little hiccup in February, where I had to take 5 days off due to slight achilles issues.

I have had issues with my right knee, left shin, left and right achilles, both ankles and my right foot. As of now, it's the achilles that are most likely to cause ongoing problems, but I knew that getting into this training plan and the goal was to get to the start able to run hard and deal with the injuries afterwards.

So all in all, a successful training plan. I'm fitter than I have ever been in my life and feel very prepared for tomorrow's race. It now just comes down to the conditions and pacing. It will definitely be windy (20MPH gusting to 35), so any secret hidden goals of running sub 3 are completely out the window. I am using my "3:10 Big Wind" plan, which should get me through the first half in 1:35:39 and the second slightly quicker at 1:34:21.

I plan to go up to 30 seconds/mile slower for headwind and 15 seconds/mile faster for tailwind. I also have a slower first mile, and a fade from miles 20-26 built in. Along with adjustments for the (very few) ups and downs my mile pace will range from 6:46 (mile 20) to 7:36 (mile 12).

To be honest, I think I may have screwed up the wind factor a little. According to Daniels, a 20 MPH headwind will slow you about a minute (vs the 30s I have factored in). If that is the case I will hurting trying to stay on pace from miles 5 to 19 (or if I slow down, about 4 minutes off pace).

So the official goals are....
1) Beat my previous best marathon (4:10:10)
....I will be very disappointed if I miss this one
2) Boston Qualifying time (3:20:59)
....I should do this unless weather causes me big problems
3) London "Good For Age" (3:15:00)
....this one depends on the weather
4) Run according to my race plan (3:10:00)
....I should be able to do this, risk is I start too fast, or the wind affects me more than planned
5) Super stretch goal (Sub 3 hour) chance of this, not even going to try (unless there is miraculous weather change)

Secretly I am hoping to get thru mile 19 (the turnaround) on my 3:10 plan feeling strong and then be able to run the last 7 miles faster than plan to bring me in somewhere around 3:08-3:09, but that's the secret plan that I'm not sharing.

Oh well, time to stop analyzing and rest up. Tomorrow this all moves from excel to the road and we're see whether the last 1,735 miles were any use.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not so smart?

So after a night of non-sleep I am thinking the this whole "go-to-Europe-to-run-a-marathon-thing" was not so smart.

Body clock is way off, and after a night of very restless, sleep, I was in my deepest deepest sleep at 8am when the alarm went off. Got up and ran my 4-5 miler, and also added in the required strides. That all feels fine, but we'll have to see how this time difference thing plays out.

Ran a little bit more of the course this morning, so I have now covered the first couple miles. It's not too windy, but this is the part of the course that is sheltered. Forecast is still 20MPH from the E/NE.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Eagle has landed

I am finally in Edinburgh, after a long but uneventful trip. The hotel is very close to the start and right by the "Seat of King Arthur". I ran round Arthur's seat twice this evening for a leisurely 6-7 miler. Lots of people were out running and biking.

I covered some of the course. Blue line shows my run today, red line shows race course. I'll cover a little more tomorrow, now that I have my bearings.

It was a little windy when exposed to the East, so Sunday is going to be interesting. Forecast has changed again; rain is gone, but the wind is now predicted to get up to 20 MPH. It's going to be a slog getting out to mile 18.

I'm running at 9am tomorrow morning to get used to race time - this of course, assumes that I wake up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Travel Day is here!

Flying to Edinburgh today (and technically tomorrow too). Leave SF this evening and get to Edinburgh Thursday about 5pm. Need to go thru Terminal 5 at Heathrow so there is no telling if I will actually survive the trip. Assuming I do, I'll run a few miles Thursday evening "on the course" to unwind the legs after flying.
This morning is my last tune-up run: 7 miles with 2 at race pace, so I'll run those about 7:00 pace.

Weather isn't looking any better: still windy, but now it's going to rain too.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Uh oh! - it's getting windy

The forecast for Sunday is getting worse. Wind is picking up, now up to 16MPH from the NE, which makes miles 6-18 hard, but 18-26 easier.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Now just waiting for the big day.

This morning was a slow recovery 6 mile run. Yesterday was 13 miles, with the last 3 at just under 7 minute pace (round about marathon pace) - it all felt great and the many measurements/statistics look good. I am as ready as I am likely to ever be.

A morning easy 5 and afternoon easy 4 for Tuesday, 7 with 2 at race pace on Wednesday, then it's time to get on the plane. Get to Edinburgh Thursday afternoon (have to change in London, hopefully I don't get stuck in Terminal 5 at Heathrow) and I'll run an easy 5 miler to unwind the legs. Friday morning I plan to run at 9am Edinburgh time (race time) to get the body clock as ready as I can. Another easy 4 miles Saturday morning and then it's game time.

Trying to eat lots of carbs, drink lots of water and not drink lots of beer this week. So far so good, but it's only Monday.

Weather is still pretty much the same forecast...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weather Update

The weather forecast amazingly didn't change all that much in the last 24 hours......

12 MPH easterly still forecast, but now it looks like rain the day before.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Race Weather Update

Forecast is now back to normal, which is an Easterly wind....

I will keep an eye on this over the next week.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Race Plan

So I am all planned for the race. I've built an overly complex spreadsheet (based on one I found on the web) that calculates all my mile splits based on the course elevation changes, anticipated wind, water stops, and race strategy. It produces a nice little bracelet that you can strap around your wrist so you remember what you are supposed to be doing after 3 hours of running.

The one on the left is the plan for a 3:10, assuming no significant wind. I have a bunch of others with different time goals and different wind factors. As of now, the 3:10, no wind adjustment is my official plan!

Right now, about 8 days before the race the weather looks OK. Mid 50's, 10 MPH winds, 20% chance of rain. The prevaling wind is easterly, which means a headwind from miles 5-16 and a tailwind from 16-26. However, currently the forecast is for NW, which means cross wind most of the way.

Looks like the weather is going to be the big variable and it really could do just about anything. So flexibility is going to be the key.

Here's the course.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Final Workout

My final pre-marathon "real workout" is done. 3 x 1600 meters at 5k pace. I've been really light on this type of speed workout as it was the thing that was most likely to get me injured, but I decided it would be good to get a little speedwork into the end of the schedule just to get tuned up for the big day.

It's going to be really hot today (high 90's) so I went out early to run laps at the high school track. Out the door before 7am and it was already creeping up towards 70 degrees, not a trace of wind.

My 5k pace is "supposed to be" 6:04 minute miles. Mind you, I have never run a 5k at that pace but there you go. That works out to about 90 seconds per 400 m lap. So 3x4 laps with a 2 minute recovery jog in between.
.....First 4 laps were 89, 91, 91, 90 - 6:01
.....Second 4 laps were 87,92,91,93 - 6:03
.....Third 4 laps were 90, 93, 93, 90 - 6:06
Last set was definitely hard but I was happy hitting that last lap in 90. I was glad it wasn't 4 x 1600m.

So now it's all easy stuff from here to Scotland; nothing but easy miles, a few strides and some marathon pace miles to get the timing down.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Taper Week 2

So a 17-18 miler out and back over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito yesterday morning wrapped up my first taper week. 62 miles, with an unplanned day off Friday.

I have decided that my unimpressive 10k race on Saturday (in which I was 14th out of 310 finshers - so 296 people were even less impressive than me) is a sign that perhaps a sub 3 marathon attempt is going to end very badly. And that perhaps a more sensible plan would be to aim for 3:10. So that is now the official plan - 3:09:59, which is 7:15 average pace. If it is all going swimmingly at mile 20 I'll speedup for the last 6 miles. And if it's not, I'll be very grateful I wasn't running at 6:52 pace.

It will be adjusted only for these 2 scenarios:
1) the weather is dreadful, in which case I will probably just go for 3:20
2) I change my mind and go for sub 3 - which won't be smart, but is not out of the question.

This week is a short week at 54 miles. Still keeping the intesnity/pace of the workouts, but the mileage is dropping.
Monday - 6 miles easy pace
Tuesday - 8 miles w 4 miles at tempo (6:29)
Wednesday - 6 miles easy pace
Thursday - 8 miles w 3x1600m at 5k pace (6:04)
Friday - 6 miles easy pace
Saturday - 7 miles w 5x100m Strides
Sunday - 13 miles easy pace
So it's all easy stuff except for Tuesday and Thursday.

I can already notice the effect of lowering the mileage last week and things are feeling good.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Out of Tune

So this morning was a 10k tune up race......

It was a bad race (long and a very twisty/turny last 1/4 mile), and I ran it really badly (wimped out)...... Some friends who ran this last year said they were around 1 min slow so I figured the course was probably a bit long but figured I'd go for it anyway.

Warmed up OK, started fine.
Mile 1 (goal 6:17) - actual 6:16
- no mile marker so this was by garmin distance
Mile 2 (goal 12:34) - actual 13:37!
- this freaked me out as it I hadn't slowed down
- checked the distance and this mile was way long
- garmin was at 2.16m
- pace for the 2.16m was about right at 6:19 and felt OK
Mile 3 (goal 18:51) - actual 20:02 - 3.16 miles
- so despite running 6:20 pace for 3.16 miles i was over 20 mins and not even at the "5k" mark.

At this point I got a stitch and decided it wasn't worth killing myself for a long course, wimped out and jogged it in around 6:40 pace for a very unimpressive 41:17. (6.35 miles - 6:29 pace). I came about 15th out of 500 or so people.

Overall, a really lame race. I hate crappy courses, it is not difficult to measure them properly, but even with that I had a crappy race. I was off pace at mile 3 by a few seconds and then I wimped out - not very good. I will decide what this means to my Edinburgh 3 hour goal later.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Midweek Update

The week is progressing well. My legs are now back to normal and I'm feeling fit and healthy. Heart rate is low and things are all looking good. Had my annual Doctor checkup this week, and I was 18lbs lighter than the last one.

Monday was an uneventful double for 10 easy miles.
Tuesday's tempo was short, but fast. Did 3 miles at an average of 6:09, which is a little faster than tempo pace (6:29). But it was a downhill route. Miles were 6:17, 5:58, 6:15 - so you can tell where the bulk of the downhill was. Fekt good to run that fast.
Wednesday was a windy 12 mile out and back. Ran right by the bay and on the way out it was a 20 mph headwind: very tough going. Of course, coming home was great. if it's that windy in Edinburgh all bets are off and I'll be lucky to run a 3:30.
This morning was an easy 6ish with 5 strides.

More easy miles tomorrow then the 10k tune-up on Saturday. If it's not windy I'll go for 39:04 - but I know it's a stretch goal as I've done zero speedwork for months.
Sunday should be a 17 miler in San Francisco (probably a little hungover....) to give me low 60's for the week.

Monday, May 5, 2008


So I am officially tapering for my race......

Rounded out last week with my tenth and final run of over 20 miles on Saturday (20.6m at 7:50 pace) and then a couple easy runs Sunday for 13 and change. Weekly total was 82 miles. Stepping it down from the planned 100 seems to have helped a little and my legs are starting to feel a little less heavy.

I looked back at my original training plan (Daniels' 24 week, 70 mile max) and noticed that I am supposed to do a 8-10k tune-up race this Saturday. I'd somehow lost that in the various replanning activities.

Fortunately there is one just down the road on Saturday morning that looks pretty good, so I'll probably run that. I haven't done much in the way of fast running so it should be interesting. My equivalent time for a 3 hours marathon is 39:04 (6:17/mile pace). That's a 80 seconds faster than my best 10k time so it's going to be ugly.

I should definitely PR, but I'm not sure that 6.2 miles at 6:17 pace is gonna just happen.

Rest of this week looks like this...
Mon - Recovery 10 as a double
Tue - short tempo (4m) 8m overall
Wed - easy 12
Thu - easy 6 with some strides
Fri - easy 5
Sat - 10k race 39:04 goal
Sun - easy 17
should be in the low 60s for the week.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The week so far....

Not a great week so far. Last Sunday's run left me feeling beaten up (I dont think the last 4 months of solid training has helped much either) and I probably should have just taken a day or so off, but instead I have been slogging thru.

Monday was a sloggy 7m in the morning that felt like my legs were 200lb weights. For the afternoon I picked it up a little and ran 4 miles at 7:30 pace.
Tuesday's tempo didn't really happen, but I did get a fast (6:20) mile in as part of a lunchtime 5 miler.
Wednesday started with an early 7m slog that felt much like Monday morning's run. In the evening I decided to go up the track and try to get my legs working. After some warmup I did 1m at 5k pace (6:04) , 1m at tempo pace (6:26) and 1m at marathon pace (6:50). This was a good run and my legs enjoyed the change of pace (and also the softer track surface and total absence of hills).
Thursday was a reasonably flat 13 miler with 3 miles at 6:52. The 3 fast miles were gradual uphill - nothing big, just 150' climb, but enough to keep me honest. A good run.
Friday was a 7m easy run this morning and my legs are back to feeling like lead. Good news is that I have no double planned today.

Saturday is 10 easy miles, I'll probably split that to 6 and 4.
Sunday is my last long run - a 21-22 miler with 3 miles at MP.
There's a chance I'll switch the Sat/Sun workouts around as I am in SF drinking/eating too much Saturday night and the thought of 22 miles hungover isn't too appealing.

I'm hoping that the next 3 weeks taper will restore some of the sproinkiness in my legs. If not, I am in deep doodoo for Edinburgh.