Thursday, March 31, 2011

Runner Tracking Info

If the idea of watching people inflict pain and suffering upon themselves interests you, it's no longer necessary to travel to Boston on Patriots day to witness it. Via the miracle of modern technology you can now receive instant updates directly to your mobile device or via the internet.

Head over to the Athlete Alert Page and enter the runner bib number(s) for the runner(s) you would like track. You'll need to do this before 6am race day.

I'm bib #5461.

My RFOS teammate Brian Denger is #3903. I predict if you watch the race in person you should be able to see both of us within the same 10 minutes at any point. Just look for our avocado lime colored RFOS t-shirts.

Athlete Tracking offers four splits. Here they are along with my goals:
10K - 42:30
Half Marathon - 1:29:00
30K - 2:06:30
Finish - 2:59:59

If I'm slower than these goals you'll know something didn't go according to plan. If I'm much faster than these goals it's cause for concern! In reality, getting to my 30K goal shouldn't be a problem. It's just the last hour that's going to be tough. Yes, all this work is going to come down to being able to hang on to my pace for an hour.

Oh, the running is still going well. I met my March goal of running my first 300+ mile month with 323 miles and still took 4 days off. If that wasn't enough I also squeezed in 101 miles on the bike. Sunday's 20 miler went as planned and my mid week medium long run was a near effortless 13.1 in about 1:35. The next day I caught William's cold and am now taking an unplanned break of sorts with some easy miles as I feel like it. It's good timing. The "hay is in the barn" as they say and there's plenty of time to rest.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Peak week and looking forward to the taper

Another week in the training log and another week closer to my next race, Boston. Because I ran the "ras" 5k (stolen photo left w/ the goofy socks) now three Sundays back I moved my long run to the following Monday, which I knew would set me up for a high mileage week. Little did I know I'd finish with just over a hundred miles for the week. Tuesday through Friday I ran my usual milage leading to Saturday's long run, my longest training run ever at 22 miles. These weren't just any 22 miles. I joined the Greater Lowell Road Runners for their recon of the Boston course from the starting line in Hopkinton to Boston College, just past heartbreak hill.

It was a great recon and the third time I've run on the course. If I didn't know what was best for me I probably would have ran the last five miles to the finish. Perhaps I really don't know what's best for me because after a medium long run the next day I noted over 92 miles in my log for the week so later that evening I went out for another 7+ to get that 100 mile week.

What does this mean? Not much more than I'm fit enough to run 100 miles in a week. That’s not a bad thing.

As if that wasn't enough, Wednesday I ran a Yasso type workout (10 X 800m) with an average pace of 2:49 per 800. The last two were the fastest. This bodes well for my sub 3 hour attempt. All the usual predictors indicate sub 2:55 for me but let's not forget my lack of experience at this distance, not to mention the late hills at Boston. If I don't meet my goal it will most likely be due to my head, not my legs.

William has been very aware of my running, the significance of running Boston, and that I'm dedicating it and my hard work to him and everyone affected by Duchenne. Because he's seen me working so hard this month he seriously asked me if I was obsessed. I told him no but in reality his observation is probably on the money. I just want to do the best I can and am looking forward to reducing my weekly mileage to a level that’s easier to sustain for a while.

"Taper" starts Monday. That means I'll be dialing back the running and start trying to find fresh legs. I've averaged almost 70 miles for the last 7 weeks so next week I'll run around 60, then 50, then about 40 the week of Boston. I'm really looking forward to purposely running less!

William is also eager to watch me run at Boston but I'm very concerned the experience could be a let down. For example, where do I recommend he and Anne watch? Living in the Boston area only makes me more aware of the pros and cons of each possible place to view the race. Too early along the route they might miss me in the crowd, despite giving an accurate time window. If they see me it could be for just a few seconds. Too late along the route and they would have to battle traffic and crowds and my time window would be large. How would they know if I crashed and burned or already went by? Anne works in the Fenway and has easy parking so watching at about mile 24 seems most logical but the crowds could be tough and would William be able to see over people from his wheelchair? If any readers want to join Anne and William just let us know.

Monday is William’s 9th birthday. Birthdays are always bittersweet for me. A big part of me wants to just stop time and keep things as they are. Fortunately William has always been a blast to be with at any age and I expect no less in the future. This weekend his cousins and Anne’s parents are here to celebrate. William’s has been very excited about it all week and has already opened a couple presents. He’ll be sad to see them go back home to New York tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Settling in from vacation and the final push to Boston

Since my last update we were fortunate enough to escape the Northeast for a week in Florida where we spent a full week at Disney. I underestimated how much fun William would have there. He was on cloud 9, or beyond, the entire week. Since we stayed on the Disney resort we never saw the “real world” for the week, which went a long way towards getting a much needed mental break for all of us. What was William’s favorite thing about Disney?? The rides!! We did Thunder Mountain 9X, Splash Mountain 4X, Test Track 4X, Kali River Rapids 2X, Haunted Mansion 2X, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups 2X, and most everything else at least once. William is already planning his return trip!

Next, I was spotlighted in Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy's (PPMD) recent newsletter for my efforts to make my Boston Marathon my Run For our Sons (RFOS) race. Considering how much so many other RFOS runners have raised I'm humbled to be recognized.

Now back from Florida we can smell spring in the air. Almost. After months of cold and snow it’s easier to enjoy this time of year despite the erratic weather. It’s relative and the weather has been relatively better, not to mention the fact that we once again have clear roads and sidewalks!

With daylight savings here and the snow gone I’m seeing much, much less of the treadmill and more of the bike, which should benefit me in the final push to Boston. In the last week I kicked the biking year off with over 50 miles supplementing nearly 80 miles run. I’m also reintegrating “run commuting” into my schedule. I can run the 9 miles from work to home in just 20 minutes longer than my regular commute. So why not? The route isn’t scenic but the miles are good.

In addition to the constant signs of spring, the running continues to go well. I finished February with 245 miles, which was actually about 30 miles short of my monthly goal. The silver lining for February is that my diet has gone well and more than makes up for any missed mileage. Yes. I’m actually trying to drop some extra weight during the hard months of this marathon training cycle. Many advise against it but I’ve lost about 10 pounds since late January, still feel strong and energetic, and hope to drop a couple more by mid April. I counted calories for a few weeks until I got into the habit of cutting my portions and making better choices. Seeing success has made it easy to continue and I already feel a little swifter and lighter on my feet while running. My goal is to run Boston in the 160s which is even more unfathomable when I consider that two years ago I could hardly run 4-5 miles and weighed close to 225.

So far March has gone very well. A week ago I toed the line at Stu’s 30K (18.6 miles) hoping to get a hilly, well supported long run in the books, not necessarily race. I hoped to make the run hard and ran it as a progression run. The first hour went by at a conversational pace and then I slowly picked up the pace to the end. Without going into race effort I was able to finish in 2:06 (6:50 pace) and passed all but 24 people. On paper Stu’s is harder than the Boston Prep 16 miler I ran in January yet I went just as fast with much less effort. That really surprised me and reinforces the fact that I’m on track for Boston.

This past weekend I ran the Ras na hEireann 5K in Somerville with over 5000 others. Can you find my head in the photo? You'll have to click to make it bigger if you want to play "where's Waldo." This 5K was just for fun and to serve as a fitness check of sorts. At this exact point in my marathon buildup last fall I ran a 5K in 18:22 so sub 18 would have been great but, upon seeing the undulating course prior to the race, I thought sub 18 was out the window. Fortunately my legs didn’t agree with my head and I ran 17:33 for a 35 second 5K PR. At that distance you could call it a small breakthrough and I’m eager to run more 5Ks after Boston since I feel I’ve got faster ones in me. The 5K distance isn’t universally enjoyed by marathoners but I really enjoy them. It’s a chance to open up the throttle and give it all you’ve got and not feel wasted by the effort.

I’ve got about two more weeks of training before my marathon taper begins. I hope to hit 300 miles in March. This will be a tall order since I’ve never run 300 in a month before. BUT…that mileage won’t be at the expense of quality training so we’ll have to see how it goes. So far, so good.