Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rock n Roll Washington DC Marathon Post-Race Report

I had a very strong marathon on March 12th in Washington DC. I was able to finish about 5 minutes ahead of my previous best. Plus, I was able to stop and take several stretch breaks during the race.

Some of my post-race thoughts:

a) I was able to finish with some power. In fact, my average pace the last three miles was the fastest of the race. It hurt like hell, but there's no better feeling than finishing a marathon and being the one that is passing others instead of being passed. A big shout out goes to Hanson Coaching for their training plan. They promised that their approach prepares you to finish with some power and they were right.

b) The race sponsors did a much better job than they did in Savannah last year. I had no problem with getting water, gatorade, or finding a rest area during the race. Post-race support, sustinance, and aid was flawless as well.

c) The two big hills in this race were just unmerciful. The first was a ~200 foot climb over a third of a mile up to Calvert Street from Rock Creek Trail, starting at mile 7. The second was a ~100 foot climb over a half mile as you enter Fort Dupont Park, starting halfway through mile 23. Other than that, there were modest rolling hills the first 12 miles and the last 4 miles of the course. Most of the middle was flat.

d) Access to the DC Metro made getting to and from the race an afterthought. It was much better than having to walk a mile and a half from the finish line to my hotel in Savannah.

e) The Morton's Neuroma in my right foot continues to be a challenge. I have found that it is related more to the constant pounding of a run as opposed to tighter shoes. It's doesn't flare up at all on 10 mile recovery runs, but any tempo run will trigger it after 6 to 8 miles. That's what happened during this race. My toes started tingling after 5 miles and the intermittent shooting pain started around mile 9. But (and thank goodness) it became totally numb starting around mile 18 and I was able to finish without any more problems. I'm headed back to doctor this week.

There's no doubt that the age-old adages about marathon running rang true for me. As the race begins, the pre-race excitement will cause you to start at a much faster pace than you had planned. Half-way through the race, you're beginning to wonder why you're doing this. Five miles later, you're thinking that there is no way you will be able to finish without walking it in. After toughing it out, starting around mile 22 or so you start feeling like it's possible to have a strong finish. The last three miles, if you are pushing the pace a bit, are excruciating but you feel some relief once you can see the finish line. Then, five minutes after finishing, you're thinking lessons learned and applying them during the next one.

For me, it's time for a eight to ten weeks of well-deserved downtime starting after the annual Chick-fil-a Half Marathon on April 9th. Then, it's on to the NYC Marathon this fall.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Things to Do Between Now and November 6, 2016

My top ten list for a successful 2016 New York City Marathon, in no particular order.
  1. Drop 10 pounds without losing any muscle.
  2. Buy 20 week, 45 - 65 mile/week training plan from Hanson's Coaching Services.
  3. Complete running assessment with Jimbo Wood.
  4. Decide on a target pace (4:00 or 4:15) after this week's marathon in DC.
  5. Make plane reservations, hotel reservations, theater reservations, etc.
  6. Figure out some way to deal with the pinched nerve in my right foot.
  7. Spend about 8 weeks cross-training, swimming between April 10th and June 3rd.
  8. Try not to to alienate wife, family, friends, and dogs when I am running all the time
  9. Don't be grumpy at work when I am tired all the time
  10. More importantly, don't get hurt!
Training starts on June 6th.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

This is What Blessings Look Like . . .

Not a bad Christmas holiday: saw the grandkid and kids, went to church with my mother, had several meals with my brother, saw Star Wars 3 times, ran 37 miles, watched many a crappy bowl game (and enjoyed a few good ones), moved furniture throughout the house at the behest of my wife, read 'Hansons Marathon Method', taught Sunday School today (and prepared readings for next week), saw Concussion today with Gail  and tonight we've watched The Intern and now we're watching The Martian. Tomorrow, meet with the boss and my peers and have got to get on with preparing for class next week. This is what blessings feel and look like.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Central Sole Connection - Weekly Long Run on Saturday

This past week our church, Central Presbyterian Church of Athens, started its own running club in association with Connect Run Club. Central Sole Connection is for everyone - for individuals who walk, who job, who regularly run 5k or 10ks, and even those who are actively training for a half or full marathon. More information on the club is available on the club's Web site.

Gabriel Mundi and I will co-lead a weekly long run on Saturday mornings, leaving from Bishop Park in Athens. While both Gabriel and I are both actively engaged in marathon training (my training plan calls for a total of 18 miles this Saturday) we have prepared different routes that will allow us to provide a solid training experience for everyone - whether they want to go three miles, five miles, nine miles, or a longer distance depending on their individual training needs. We've got several routes available and will mix and match them to fit the needs of whatever runners participate each week.

Here's a three mile course that we could start out with for beginners.

Bishop Park - Prince 3 Mile Loop
From there, we could head back down Prince Avenue to tag on a couple more miles for a total of just over five.

Bishop Park - Athens Regional 2 Mile Loop

For those that want to go longer, I've also got a couple more routes starting from Bishop Park that would take the total distance up to a little over 9 miles (adding on 4 miles) or all the way up to 14 or 18 (adding on an additional 9 miles).

Bishop Park - Hendershots 4 Mile Loop
Bishop Park - UGA 9 Mile Loop
For the next few months we're going to start each Saturday with a fresh slate and we'll map out the morning's run based on the needs and goals of the entire group, mixing and matching the above courses so we can drop runners off back at their car when their training is done. Later this year, we'll survey the group and put together some specific training regimes to prepare participants for a half or full marathon.

The long run is the foundational training experience for all runners. It builds endurance, strengthens the entire body, teaches the body to burn fat as fuel, increases confidence, and reduces mental stress. The pace will be slow, averaging about 12 minutes/mile for the entire course. We'll also be following Jeff Galloway's run - walk - run method, running for four minutes and then walking for one minute. This method helps to speed recovery and avoid injuries (I can attest to that as I have run 1200+ miles so far this year without experiencing a single injury). For more information on this approach to the long run see Jeff's Web site.

Of course, runners are free to head out at whatever pace and using whatever training regime best fits their needs. The entire aim of Central Sole Connection is to connect individuals together throughout Athens and the larger community by sharing an appreciation of walking, jogging, or running. These weekly long run sessions will provide an opportunity to do just that.

We want to start running right at 7:30am, so runners are encouraged to arrive around 7:20 so we can plan the day's route before heading out. If anyone requires any information on the weekly long run please email me at accidentalcio@icloud.com.