Friday, December 3, 2010

Post marathon running

So as of today I am twelve days since Philly and Im feeling really good still. The post marathon glow has started to wear off a bit. Looking back at the Philly weekend - I still cant believe how much fun I had and how strong I was able to run (and that I got to break in a un-used porta-potty). Ive run six times now since is a recap.

Thursday Nov 25 - GMAA Turkey Trot 5k - VT
Very low key race - no bibs, no timing (unless you are the first man or woman to finish). I ran this with my sister. Kind of nervous on how I would feel 4 days after Philly. Kept things nice and slow - (minus when I had to catch up to someone to tell him his shoe was untied). Finished at 29:07 (9:15 pace)...legs felt pretty good. After the run - went back to my sister's and had my first beer (and Jamesons) in a long time.

Saturday Nov 27 - Long run with Paul
Met up with my friend Paul in VT for a nice long slow run. Cold and windy - but overall great. Post marathon running worries are definitely gone after this run. Nine miles at a 9:08 pace - did a little pick up near the end to see what the legs could do. (Also picked Paul's brains about ultras - maybe someday.)

Tuesday Nov 30 - Back in CT
Did some speed work with some pickups at 5k effort. Things felt really good - legs felt fresh and the pickups were surprisingly quick. November over - total miles 111.6. Yearly miles to date 1503 - which is only 19 miles off my total miles last year.

Wednesday Dec 1 -
Weather sucked - very windy and rainy. But I like running in the rain - its fun the looks you get from drivers when you are out there. Three miles.....

Thursday Dec 2- MT DOOM RUN
Ran to the top of Mt Doom (aka East Rock)...such a satisfying thing to do. Nice big hill. The road to the summit is already closed off to cars. Minus a couple bikers I had the place to myself. Must remember to run up to the summit more often - such a great view.

Friday Dec 3 - Run with the Doc
Doc Leah gave me a ring this morning wanted to know if I wanted to join her for a run. Since most of my training runs are solo - I couldn't pass on running with someone. We hung around East Rock and ran some loops - (I was waiting for the oil company to come out and get heat back to my place so I didnt want to stray too far from home).

So - almost 2 weeks post marathon and I feel good. No major injuries/tweaks. Couple minor things here and there - but nothing some stretching and rolling (and a beer) doesn't take care of. I have decided for sure not to race the last big race around here in December (Christopher Martins 5k) - and will just get myself recovered more, start ramping up the speed work a bit - and get ready for Chilly Chili run on New Years day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Three days post Marathon

Legs are feeling good, I'm still smiling and still eating everything I can find.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report (long)

After my run on Friday:
I finished work on Friday and knocked out the laundry pretty quick. However after finishing the laundry I dropped my work laptop and broke it. Although I did not need it for my weekend in Philly – it was not the way I wanted to start my race weekend. I packed up all my running gear- double checked I had both pairs of Kinvaras with me (my yellow ones would have been lonely if I left them home), had a nice dinner and then went to bed.

Alarm went off at 6am and I was up and having my coffee within 5 minutes. My family and I were out the door by 7. We made a quick stop off at Panera for breakfast (didn’t seem right not to start the race weekend without an orange scone) – and then we were off to Philly. Very quick drive down with no excitement (even through New York City) – which was nice. Got to Philly around 11:30 and headed over to my in laws for some lunch.

After lunch I walked over to the expo to get my bib and such. The expo was really nice –lots of people there. This by far was the biggest expo I had ever been too. I walked around a bit picked up a couple things. At 3pm I met up with some fellow Milford Road Runners that were down to run the marathon as well. After a couple pictures we all went our separate ways. I was amazingly tired for it being only 4pm. My way was to the hotel (Thomas Bond Bed and Breakfast) to check in – then back to in laws so I could eat. After a nice dinner at the South Street Diner (which ended up being on the race course) – we went back to the hotel so I could get ready for the race – and more importantly sleep.

RACE DAY!! – After a decent (not great) night of sleep – I woke up 5 minutes before the alarm went off (which I’m sure my family appreciated) and was getting myself together. Had my morning bagel and a diet soda to pep me up. Slowly I got myself into race gear and in my throw away clothes and headed down stairs for my cab. The lady that worked at the bed and breakfast had coffee ready when I got downstairs and a bagged breakfast for me with scones and other pastries in it (she had others for the other racers too – such a nice touch). Cab showed up right on time and after a five minute drive I was staring at the art museum at about 5:30 in the morning. It was pretty cold still and the moon was shining bright right about the museum (wish I had my camera with me). After christening a fresh porta potty – I worked my way over to the fleet of UPS trucks to check in my bag. By the time I had that all done- the sun was starting to peak through and the numbers of runners and spectators started to increase like crazy.

I found the green corral and the 3:40 pace leader – and tried to just stay warm (I had shed my throw away clothes already). There was a definite excitement in the air – announcements over the loudspeakers, friends chatting, perfect strangers introducing themselves….it was great. I talked with a couple people, – (one was a girl named Penny from Brooklyn who ran a 3:37 and qualified for Boston!) - which is not in my nature as I am usually quiet and shy at races. Philadelphia has a wave start – which was great. When it was time for our corral to go – it was still very busy but I cant even imagine if everyone went at the same time.

As I started the 3:40 pace balloons pulled away from me and I lost site of them. I didn’t really worry too much as I was only going to use the pace group as a guide (although I would have loved to stick with them the whole race). Streets were pretty narrow and running room was at a premium. A runner next to me, we’ll call him Doc as I cant remember his name – just that he was a Doctor at Temple, starting chatting with me. We realized we both wanted to run with the 3:40 pace group and since we both lost sight of it decided to just run in a pace group of two. In between miles two and three we caught sight of the balloons up ahead – but decided it was in our best interest to not chase them down. We were doing fine on our own at an 8:15 pace or so. At mile 5 – I saw my wife and father in law waving, no pictures though as I was just running too fast (and on the other side of the street from them). I took my first gel at the water stop after mile 5. Through the city was just an amazing place to run – so many people all cheering, giving out high 5s…it was just great. And with our names on our bibs – you’d get the occasional stranger yelling out specifically to you. Such a boost.

We finally caught up to the pace group around mile 8 or so and I settled into a nice focused pace. Even though the course is billed as a flat course – it does have some fairly decent hills in it that you have to watch out for – and they start around mile 9. Mile 11 I took another gel. As we pulled around the front of the art museum for the half marathoners to split off – the road got pretty narrow and congested as everyone started to make sure they were in the right spots for the split. Once we were passed the split the roads opened up a bit and we all had a bit more room to run. The crowd through here was a bit sparse – so I decided to disconnect the brain for a bit and just focus on running form and breathing. As my Garmin beeped 15 miles – the lead runner ran past us on his final stretch- he was flying. We all cheered for him as he went passed….

With the brain disconnected and me being focused just on running – I don’t remember too much from mile 14-18 except – there was a bridge, a downhill, me passing the pace group leader as he watered some grass, then back uphill and across the bridge again. I took my last gel shortly after the bridge, then kept an eye out for the final turn around point. I decided to forgo the nice offers of free beer around mile 19. Finally the turn around came – at this point the pace group was about a 1/10th of a mile in front of me- and I decided I wasn’t going to have it in me to keep up with them. As they turned around the corner I pointed at the pace leader and said thanks to him and that was the last I remember seeing them. I was still feeling fairly good even though the 3:40 wasn’t going to happen. I started watching the outbound runners and just zoned out to the all the runners going by me. Then out of nowhere I heard my name and an arm came out – my friend Alecia was running at me on the outbound side – we exchange high 5s and yelled at each other. That was just the boost I needed to get through the next couple miles.

At mile 22 I got hungry and started to cramp when I tried to hold my focused pace. (side bar: I keep saying focused pace as I was not looking at Garmin pace anymore and just figuring my splits from the race clocks). Then I felt that the wall could be coming – so instead of trying to run right into it and have it knock me back, I decided to slow up a bit find a comfortable pace and just sit on that until I felt a bit better. Even though I slowed up – I realized around mile 23 (where I had to DNF at Cape Cod) I was going to finish this race. I started to get choked up – which is a big deal for me – as I have been told Im a robot when it comes to my emotions. A bit after mile 24 I was really hungry – and out of the blue (I’m pretty sure I didn’t hallucinate this) there was a group of kids handing out gummy bears. THANK YOU! Although I only ate 4 it was just what I needed. I started to pick up the pace again (or so it felt). Then the crowd started to get thicker and thicker again as we were within a mile+ of the finish. With a mile to go the crowd was basically on top of the course cheering us all along and I picked it up again. It was so surreal having that many people so close to you cheering you on. “You got this Mark” and “Finish strong Mark” were the ones I remember the most. As I made the final little turn around the loop to the finish line I realized I had this smile plastered on my face. I don’t even remember looking at the clock or anything as I ran through the chute – but I do remember the feeling of just uncontrollable happiness.

As I got my mylar blanket and my finisher’s medal – I heard my wife yelling out my name. She walked with me to get my food and my bag. She was so happy to be able to see me finish AND get a picture of it as well. (With a 7 year old kid sometimes race finishes are missed by last minute trips to the porta potty).

I’m so happy still that I was able to finish this race after what happened last year at Cape Cod. I knew heading into it that a 3:40 goal was going to be tough to maintain – and really don’t care that I missed it. The 3:46:29 is a 13 minute PR and I couldn’t be more excited. The smile has yet to leave my face.

Pictures -->

Philadelphia Marathon Official Results

Bib: 4560
Div: M 30-34
Age: 34
Chip Time: 3:46:29
Pace: 8:38
10k Time/pace: 51:02 / 8:12
Half Time/pace: 1:48:54 / 8:18
30k Time/pace: 2:35:40 / 8:21
Overall: 2587/8942
Place M: 1959
Place M 30-34: 338

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More taper runs, craziness, DailyMile meetup

So - taper runs #9-12 are done with two more planned runs before the Philadelphia Marathon. (AAAAGH 5 more days! - phew I'm better) Here are the runs:

#9 - 5 miler - 4 easy miles with a MP last mile ->
#10 - 8.24 miler with Milford Road Runners ->
#11 - 5 miler - with blah blah blah ->
#12 - 3.1 miler - with fast last 1/2 mile ->

Now some of the crazy taper stuff that I hope usually happens ->
1) I woke last night with maybe a pain in my leg (I may have been imagining the whole thing). I did get up and walk around the house at 2am or so to walk it off.
2) Restless sleep last few nights (see #1)
3) The need to make sure things are clean/put away - not normally in my nature.
4) Packing/re-packing my bag that I'm going to check at the race
5) Quick and sudden freak outs
6) Been on the Philadelphia Marathon website all the time -but for no apparent reason
7) Dream of winning a random contest for something (i cant remember what it was for) from IronBrandon (if you dont listen to his podcast - you should)

The DailyMile meetup for the Philadelphia Marathon is going to be at 5pm at the Clif Bar Pace Team booth. If you don't know what DailyMile is - you should go check it out. But in short its a social network site for runners, swimmers, cyclists and any other type of exercise you could think to log. You can post workouts, friend other people, comment on their workouts......Its good fun and is a great motivator.

Speaking of Clif Bar Pace Teams - I ended up signing up for the 3:40 pace group. Not sure what to expect but we'll see how long I can stay with them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Taper Runs #7 and 8, Pace Groups

Last two taper runs went grand - the first of the week (Tuesday) I decided to run this one a little harder. Each mile was a bit faster than goal marathon pace with the last one being at my current 10k (or 5k after a 5.8 mile warm up) pace. Today's run I just went very easy. I even broke out the ipod to run with for the first time in a long time. I let the easy listening sounds of Tool help and keep me relaxed on this run. Oh and I probably should pick up some Bodyglide - the new shorts all of a sudden seem to allow for some chafing.

Tuesday's run ->

Today's run ->

The big taper question that I have been going back and forth on - is to join a pace group - or not. I've talked to some runners with varying degrees of expertise/experience in running for opinions and things seem split. For new and non runners - races will bring in people to lead groups to get people across the finish line in a certain time. Common finish times for pace groups are 3:10, 3:20, 3:30..etc etc...sometimes going all the way up to 5:00. At the Philadelphia Marathon - Clif Bar will be running the pace groups and I'm torn.

A few people I run with say pace groups are great - and highly recommended joining one. Said they have run with them in the past (not Clif specifically) and thought it really helped them get across the line at their expected goal. Others say they had a tough time with the group. Ive read online in places basically the same thing.

Part of me would love to join so I can
a) run with a group of people with the common time goal
b) have someone pace the beginning where my adrenaline will probably kick
c) help assist in the later miles with motivation (as some pace leaders do)
d) get the 3:40 Im hoping for

But the other part -
a) afraid that the 3:40 is too ambitious and will get discouraged later in the race when the pace group pulls away from me
b) afriad that a 3:40 is very doable and maybe faster and will feel like I left too much out there staying with the group (highly unlikely)
c) Not sure if anyone is still reading this - but taper has clearly started to affect the brain
d) would like to run "my own" race and just do what feels right and natural and have fun

As of this second - I'm leaning toward not joining a pace group. But I'm sure my mind will change 100 more the next 5 minutes.

11 Days to Go!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

End of Taper Week 1

First taper week is done. Phew....Got some good runs in this week. I even ended the week with a long run with a 5k race in the middle. The one negative for the week is I spent Friday with either a stomach bug or some food poisoning - either way I definitely expelled more calories on Friday than I could take in. Also by the end of the day was extremely dehydrated (any fluids I took in got deposited into the porcelain throne as well). Saturday I spent the day refueling and re-hydrating so I could try and run on Sunday.

The race went well - I was able to maintain a comfortably hard pace and run a 7:36 pace. Far from a PR - but with the 5.8 mile warm up we did and being sick I will take it.

This coming week Ill be cutting back my mileage a bit more and start to make my Marathon checklist (which is right up my alley - gotta love making lists). Things to look for - places to eat near the convention center, a quiet family friendly place to get dinner on Saturday, look for some throw away clothes for the start, look at Philadelphia weather and figure out what to bring with me, buy Gels and other food stuffs.....Im sure there are many other things to list out - so feel free to remind me of things I should bring.

Total runs: 6 (include the long run on Sunday broken into 3 segments)
Distance: 29.02 miles
Time: 4:14:45
Pace: 8:46

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Taper illness - blerg

So not how I planned to spend my Friday - I was hoping for a five mile tempo run. Instead I spent a majority of the day with either a stomach bug or some sort of food poisoning. Woke up at 4am with what I thought was really bad heartburn....boy was I wrong. I was in the bathroom every 40 minutes or so reliving my dinner from the night before.

So after a day of losing many more calories than I took in - I am going to rest today too. Take the day to rehydrate and refuel. Im craving some fatty foods - but Ill try and refrain from going too crazy on the refueling part. Then tomorrow join some friends for a long run which will include the Platt Tech 5k in the middle of it.

Fifteen more days to go....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Taper Run #3-

The plan today was to go slow and not do anything dumb (step on an acorn, trip on a curb, slip on leaves). Mother nature actually helped out with the rain and the wind - and really I kind of like running in the rain. I put on my new digs that I hope to wear at Philly and went out for a slow and wet four miler. For the first time on a run I never looked at my Garmin. I just counted the mile beeps so I knew when to stop. Felt kind of nice to just be whatever about a run. Some people when they do "naked" runs they go without the watch - but I still like the post run numbers and stuff to obsess over. I did throw a picked up pace mile at the end of the run that just happened to be at 8:23 (which is right around goal marathon pace). My poor Kinvaras are up on my makeshift drying rack now - to hopefully be worn tomorrow.

Total distance: 4 miles
Total time: 36:36
Average pace: 9:09
Splits: 9:15 / 9:09 / 9:48 / 8:23

The new shirt and shorts seemed to work out fine. First pair of shorts with a liner in it. I was always hesitant to get this kind of short for some reason - but it wasn't all that bad. I'm going to wear the same thing out on my long run this weekend to make sure everything stays where its supposed to on a longer run....and to see well if there are any chafe points.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taper Run #2 -

So far taper hasn't started to drive me crazy yet - but its only early in the first week of it. Talk to me midweek next week. Todays run went well - did fifteen 100meter pickups with 100m recovery then did some running around Yale to fill out some mileage. Felt good - and the cooler weather has been great. Ive been having to shed the gloves and arm warmers though mid run as I do get warm pretty quick.

Been thinking about nutrition strategy for race day and this is what I have so far...

- 2-2.5 hours before race (4:30am-5am ugh) - eat bagel and have a cup of coffee (where I am going to find coffee at that time of the morning I dont know yet)
- 1 hour before race - some sort of granola bar - preferably with around 140 calories
- 15 minutes before race Gatorade G1 Prime
- Mile 5 Gel
- Mile 13.5 Gel
- Mile 20.5 Gel

At the three gel times drink water - then try and alternate water/gatorade as much as I can throughout the rest of the race.

Picked up some shorts tonight at Sports Authority to race in and my shirt from Running Warehouse should be here tomorrow. Will be trying them out on my long run this weekend with the Milford Road Runners (WINTER COURSE!! WAHOOO - believe me its so much better than the summer course).

Still have had only the two marathon dreams and those were a few weeks ago. Waiting to see what my brain does to me over the next few days while I'm trying to sleep.