31 October 2010

Anything is possible, but you have to believe and you have to fight. -Lance Armstrong

This month was insane. I started off with the last week(ish) of my taper, ran a 3:09:29 to qualify for Boston, ran 19:07 in my first 5k with my running club. All the while studying like hell for an oral exam of epic proportions, which we will get to later. Oh, and I somehow managed to put in 127 miles. Not too shabby for 9 days of taper and 3 weeks of recovery after the marathon.

This week was great for running. I put in about 26 miles, including a 10 miler on Friday (my first double digit run since PDX) and a great trail run with the club yesterday. This morning, after tracking some friends who ran MCM, I went out for a run along the river. It poured rain all night, but was sunny and blue skies this morning. If you are ever in the northwest in the fall and happen to encounter one of these rare, sunny fall days, make sure you go for a run. I love running on fall days like today.

On my run this morning, I realized something. Scratch that, rewind it. Jess posted earlier this week about being a good runner. I've always just thought of myself as a runner. On my run this morning, I was thinking about her post and my own running career. From its beginnings as a hurdler in 7th grade, to xc/track in high school to the past year. The time I've invested into this amazing sport and the miles I've logged over the years are starting to shine through.

In high school, I was always a middle of the pack guy in track and a front of the pack JV guy in xc. I never qualified for an invitational or districts or state. When the regular season was over, I was done. Qualifying for Boston has changed how I feel about my own running. I finally feel like a good runner. I can now maintain 7:14 per mile for 26.2 miles when there was a time when I couldn't do that for one mile!

In my opening, I mentioned an oral exam of epic proportions. If you read this blog often, you know I am a grad student studying math. You also know that I received a conditional pass on my comprehensive exam in algebra. So Friday, I had an hour long oral exam to prove to the committee that I really do know what I'm talking about and should receive a pass on the test. The epicness of this test wasn't that it was an hour long oral exam, it was that if I didn't pass it, I wouldn't graduate in the spring. All the studying I put in paid off as I passed! Now I can get caught up in my classes and start working on my thesis again. Speaking of, I need to go read a few papers...

24 October 2010

Run Like Hell

Unofficial time: 19:09

The course was slightly more hilly than I expected. Still, the race went very well. It dumped rain during the 10k (started 40 min before the 5k) and cleared to mostly blue skies for the 5k. I exceeded my goal for the race, which was sub-20. That was also my last time goal for the year. That means I was 3 for 3, yay!

I started near the front of the race, picked it up a little around the half mile mark. I drafted off a couple of guys until I could see the first mile marker. Then I saw they weren't going to hit the right split and went around them. Mile 2 had some hills I was not expecting. Nothing big. There was one longish shallow hill and a shot (50m) steep hill. Then it was all downhill to the finish. I was passed by a guy dressed as elmo at the top of the short hill. I passed him on the long downhill and beat him by a few seconds.

This was my first race with my club. Everyone posted some great times. I was our top 5k runner with Corey and Aaron (who ran his first 5k today) close behind. I'm not sure exactly what time they ran but both were under 20. Lots of others posted PR's. I believe we had 3 people competing in their first race. In all it was a great morning!

RE-EDIT: Official results are up. I placed 12th of 954 runners overall, 3rd in my age group and actually had a time of 19:07.

22 October 2010

Track Day Friday

Distance: 4.85 miles
Time: 34:53
Pace: 7:12

It looks like Friday's are going to be track days until I start training for Boston. My club usually does speed work on Thursday's but I am in class then. Luckily, a couple other club members can't make it then. So we decided to meet Friday mornings.

Today's workout was 4x800m followed by 3x200m. Nothing too strenuous but not easy. I think the club was doing the 800's close to mile pace. Less than two weeks after Portland, I knew I didn't have that pace in my legs. So I opted to run at 5k pace. Well, what I hope is my 5k pace. The idea was to hit 3:00. Other than the first interval, we did pretty good (I ran with another member who is new to running but has A LOT of potential). Splits were 2:44, 2:56, 2:55, 2:55. The 200's hurt a little more with :35, :37, :35.

This weekend looks like a busy one. I need to catch up in my classes, though that shouldn't be too bad. It is also the last weekend I have to study for my comprehensive exam. I received a conditional pass, which means I have to take an extra oral exam with the committee to pass. That is scheduled for next Friday. On the running front, I'll be doing an easy group run tomorrow morning and then competing in the Run Like Hell 5k.

Thats all for now folks!

18 October 2010


Wow. That could have been a nightmare.

For those who don't know, the 115th Boston Marathon closed in 8 hours! Registration started at 6 am LCT (left coast time). I was up and ready at 5:50, along with my mamma back home. I figured two of us trying had a good shot at getting in quickly. I called her at 5:55 to make sure we each knew if the other got through. I tried once and it didn't work. Her first try went straight through!

This evening I booked a hotel for 3 nights and plane tickets for myself, my wonderful future wife and my older sister. Everything is set. Now I just have to decide on training and tentative goals. Any goals I set will be tentative until April. First I've got to see which training plan I go with and how training goes. I created my own 18 week plan that peaks at 60mpw with 4-20 milers. I can't decide if I would benefit more from that or building a base longer and doing a 12 week program.

Last week I put in an easy 14 miles. This week should be somewhere around 20. I've got a 5k race on Sunday too. Run Like Hell 5k here in downtown PDX. I'm shooting for sub-20. Shouldn't be too difficult considering thats 6:28 pace and my half in September was 6:40 pace. Still, I don't want to push too hard and injure myself. So sub-20 it is.

14 October 2010

Recovery and Race Pics

Yesterday I did my first post marathon run. It went well. Got in 4 miles at the gym. I actually like running on the treadmill for recovery runs, especially after a race. It lets me control my pace much better.

Official results have changed a little. I'm now 204th overall and 186th among men. Here's a few pics from the race. The first is from mile 17 on the St. Johns Bridge, second is as I'm crossing the finish line.

10 October 2010

The Road to Boston

The quick and dirty: For those who don't want to read a race novel, I mean long race report. I ran 3:09:29 (7:14 pace, BQ!) placing 193rd overall, 175th among men and 11th in my Age Group (20-24).

The Training: Going into training for this marathon, I had a base of roughly 700 miles (since January) including a half PR (at the time) of 1:31:52. I followed Pfitz 18/55 very closely, missing very few workouts. Through out the 18 weeks, I averaged around 45 miles, with 8 weeks above 50 miles. Four weeks out, I ran a 1:27:30 half, giving me a better idea of my goal pace for Portland.

The Race: I felt really good going into this race. I woke up around 5. Had some gatorade, a banana and a peanut butter bagel. Then I got ready for the race. The nice thing about racing in your town is being able to stay home until just before the race starts. I left my apartment around 6:25 and jogged the half a mile to the start. The weather wasn't great. Temps were good, low 60's. But the rain came down like no other. I guess this is Oregon so...it happens.

I had some high hopes for this race. My previous and only other marathon was RnR Seattle last year. I had almost no base and peaked at 42mpw. It showed as I struggled to a 3:54 finish. Given that I had knocked 9+ minutes off my half PR and had a lot more mileage under my belt I decided to shoot for Boston. I knew I could run that pace for a half. I figured if I crash and burned after that, I'd still have 2+hrs to run the second half to a PR.

Mile 1-9: I decided to start the race with the 3:10 pacers from Team Red Lizzard (local club). My plan for the race was to stick with them till the half, reasses there and every 2 or 3 miles after that. Had a couple of shotbloks around mile 9. Didn't see some of the mile markers so there are a few sections grouped together.

2-5-28:49 (7:12's)

Mile 10-13.1: Decided the pace group was going a bit too slow for my liking. They were running an even effort race (even splits adjusted for hills). While I think this is a good idea, I couldn't bring myself to run slower up the hills. I wanted to run a more even pace. Seeing as this was a flat section of the course, I felt it was a good place to put some distance on the group. I actually hit the half way point right when the pace group planned to (1:34:18), but they were not with me.


Mile 14-18: I hooked up with a guy named James to run this section. It made the miles go by much faster, including the hill from about 15.5 to 17 miles. The hill wasn't as bad as I had heard. Don't get me wrong, it still hurt and I was still forced to slow down for it but it wasn't too bad. I had a couple more shotbloks around mile 18.


Mile 19-23: I decided to pick up the pace and bank a little time here. It was a mostly downhill section back to the downtown area. As the splits show, I was a little to anxious to pick it up during mile 19 and I paid for it during mile 20.

19-6:34 (oops)
20-8:10 (paying for mile 19)

Mile 24-26.2: These last 3 miles hurt. A lot. I had to dig to keep the pace I did. Around mile 24 I heard people start to cheer for the 3:10 group. I expected them to catch up to me. I was trying to hit even splits, them even effort, but with the same time in mind. It was inevitable that we met at some point. Rounding the corner at mile 26, a few guys moved past me. I tucked in behind them and used their energy to pull me through the finish, ahead of the pace group.

.2: 1:40

I couldn't really believe that I had just done that. Its still a little surreal to me. When I started running xc in high school, I couldn't hold 7:14 pace for 3.1 miles. Now, I had just held it for 26.2 miles. Ever since I started running half marathons, Boston has been a goal of mine. I never thought I'd have the speed to do it until I was older. A 3:10 just seemed out of reach. I mean, until this year my half PR was only a 1:36. So to qualify, I'd have to run a half PR and then do it again. A year of hard work and lots of miles changed all that.

Official Splits:     10k-44:42

01 October 2010

Welcome to Rocktober

Like many of my running friends, I can't believe that its October already. September was a great running month, 191.5 miles (third highest month) including a half marathon pr. This month is shaping up to be a month of epic proportions, hence the title of this post.

In eight short days, I will be competing in the Portland Marathon. I'm going to go ahead and make it official: my goal is Boston. I may crash and burn but for once in my running career I don't care. When I started running xc in high school, I was always afraid to go out to fast. I didn't want to be getting passed by tons of people at the finish where there were actually spectators. I guess even after h.s. that was always a thought in my head as I approached a starting line. After my last half marathon, I'm much more confident in my ability to hold speed. So, on 10.10, I'm gunning for Boston.

The race plan will be to roll with the 3:10 group for the first half. At that point, I'll reasses how I'm feeling. If I still feel good, I'll stick with the group. At mile 20 I'll do the same thing. Then if I'm feeling really good at mile 24 or 25, I'll drop the hammer for the last few miles.

A short two weeks after that, I will be running in my first race as a member of my running club. I still have to decide if I want to run the 5k or the 10k. Right now I feel like thats too soon to be ready for a 10k so I'll see what kind of damage I can do to the field in the 5k.

In all, its looking like a great month for racing. Oh, today's run. Should have been a rest day but I couldn't do it so I hit the treadmill for an easy 3 miles @10:00 pace. Happy Rocktober everyone!