Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Marathon Recovery - Week #2

Not a lot to report on this week.  Still recovering from the race.....easy runs and cross training.
I'm feeling a LOT better after 2 weeks post marathon, much better than I did last week.

Still taking it very easy, and legs are still beat up a little bit.  But, I'm feeling better - slowly but surely- and no injuries to report - so all is well.
I didn't really have a "plan" for each day, except to do something, and run based on how my legs feel.
 Daily Work:
  • Monday:  15 minutes on exercise bike, then 2 miles on TM about 8:45 pace.  Feel a little tweak in my left calf (similar to after HM last November).  If that doesn't go away by next week, I'm off to the physical therapist.
  • Tuesday:  3.5 mi. around Spartanburg, SC.  (business travel).  Good to be in the South with warm weather.  FINALLY, starting to feel better.
  • Wednesday: OFF
  • Thursday: 4 mi on TM.. Continuing to feel better.  Still running super easy....light core work.
  • Friday: 15' on exercise bike.  2 mi recovery on TM, about 8:15 pace.  Feeling better
  • Saturday - 5 mi. easy on roads around the house.  Continuing to feel better.
  • Sunday: 7 mi. on CandO towpath.  Starting to feel completely back to normal.  Nice to get on a trail.  Avg pace a little under 8:00....what it "used to be like" before the marathon.  Upper body strength work.  Light core work.
Looking forward to next week and building my mileage back up some - not planning any "workouts", just slightly longer easy runs.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Marathon Reflections - Recovery, Week 1

Ran my first marathon last week (see post RNR DC Marathon)....

I completely bogged down / blew up / hit the wall at mile 23....I "buried myself" and all my "systems". 

So, this week I'm being SUPER cautious with my recovery (but I don't really have a choice)

The race was last Saturday.  Sunday I could walk (sort of), but stairs were very difficult.  By Tuesday I was getting around okay, but my quads and calves were still really sore.  My only activity was shoveling the driveway Tuesday (first...and probably last snow storm this year for the DC area).

Below are all my BIG workouts this week.  Every day I did some rolling and light stretching.  Always being careful to not do too much - and pay attention to anything that feels off.  Good news - for as bad as I blew up during the race, I don't think I hurt anything....so there's that.

Daily Work:

  • Sunday - Tuesday:  Nothing...except try to walk.
  • Wednesday:  Exercise bike for 30 minutes.  15 minute walk on TM. 
    • I was going to try and trot for a few minutes on the TM....nope.
  • Thursday: I rode the exercise bike in the gym, then tried the "stepper" thing for a while.
  • Friday - I jogged, putting my legs thru a sort of running type motion for 2 miles.
    • Trying out my new pair of Kinvara 7's.  Feel cushy and nice.  Love new shoes.
  • Saturday - walk
  • Sunday: 3 miles easy.  About 9:00 pace...but really just moving my legs.
Marathon Reflections:
I've had a week to reflect on the race - and how I fell apart.  What to fix, etc. 

At first I was really down on myself, for failing.  I got some good advice and words of encouragement from fellow runners (this really is great community) - and I'm focused on following thru from the lessons I learned and try it again.  I will overcome.  And...maybe be less stubborn and listen to good advice.

Next time: 
  • Make sure my MP workouts prior to the race are actually MP.  Building up for this last race I was consistently 5 to 10 seconds / mile faster than MP.  I was thinking I was getter "better" prepared...I don't think I was.
  • Start the race more conservatively....first 3-5 miles should be SLOWER than MP.
  • Longer race build up.  Up to 18 weeks (last race was 14 weeks).
  • Fueling - still know I need a better fueling plan.  More fuel and earlier.  Haven't done enough research on that yet.

But first, gotta recover......

Funny - prior to the race I was worried I wouldn't want to follow the advice of taking 3-4 weeks after the marathon for recovery.  Right now I couldn't imagine NOT doing it.

Carry on......

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Running Log Week Ending March 12 - MARATHON

The BIG news for this week is...of course....I ran my FIRST MARATHON.

Race report came out earlier today, titled "RNR DC Marathon" with the label "Race Report"

To save you some time, I completed the race in 3:23:06.  See the RNR DC Race Report published earlier today.

Other than the race......

This week is ALL taper, except a final MP workout on Monday.....

Monday Workout  -  Assignment is 8 miles:  1 wu; 2@MP; 1@ HMP; 3@MP; 1 cd.  I did the workout on the WOD in the Herndon area - which is NOT flat - and the same route as last week's similar workout.  I averaged 6:41 over the MP miles, and 6:21 for the HMP mile (slight downhill).  So, I'm still running slightly too fast....but feeling kinda springy and ready to go!

 Weekly mileage: 48 (+ 6 mi. walking over two separate days)

Long Run: 26.3 miles - RNR DC Marathon

Weight: 138


Monday - 8 miles on WOD.  2@MP; 1@ HMP; 3@MP.  MP avg = 6:41; HMP mile was 6:21  Overall pace was 6:51..  Rolling and stretching

Tuesday - 45' E w/strides


Thursday - 35' E

Friday - 10 - 15 min jog, couple strides, 10 min cool down..

Saturday - 1 x 26.3 @ MP.  3:23:16.  Complete bonk / cramp lock up on mile 23.  See separate RNR DC Race Report.

Sunday -  Yah...I can barely walk.

That is all.  Carry on.....

RNR DC Marathon Race Report - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Lesson

Hey Everyone!  I ran my first marathon!  The RNR DC

Below is WAY too much detail for anyone that is not a full on running geek (like me).  But, here goes anyway.  It's my therapy to write all this down....

Thursday and Friday off work
This is my first big race (more than 1,000 people), my first marathon, and my first race in DC.  The DC thing is important, as all my previous races have been in the 'burbs where I can park near the start line, and wander over a few minutes before the start.  I live about an hour out of DC on a good traffic day, and I had to drive to DC for packet pick up, and I was getting completely OCD / anxious about the race....so I just took the two days off.  Thursday was packet pick up and Friday was spent "trying" to lounge around and rest up, since I had a 4:00 alarm for Saturday morning.

Race Morning
My wife, my planned ride to the race - has the full on flu.  Luckily my son (18 yo) and his friend Gabe agreed to get up at 4:00 on a Saturday and drive me down there.  Pretty awesome for two teenagers - shout out to Hunter and Gabe!  Thank you very much!
Got to the race easy peasy, found the "drop off" zone, and walked over to the race start arriving around 5:45, plenty of time for the 7:00 start.  Met some really nice people while waiting around for the race.  Runners are all pretty cool, supportive people!

Race Strategy
I've hit all my MP work in the low 6:40's - on stand alone workouts, and at the end of long runs.  My plan is to run all the flat miles around 6:45, and let the pace go up on any uphill sections - the goal is to finish around 3:00.  In addition to my workouts, my last HM was 1:25:30 and I've run Yasso 800's in 2:55 (x10) - all pointing to a 3:00 goal.

It was a cold and windy morning.  24 degrees at the start with 15 mph winds.  29 degrees at 10:00.  I decided on two layers up top (one thicker), tights, gloves, and hat.  this was about right, except my gloves were two thin...my hands went numb, and the ends of right hand fingers are still "tingly" - (might have some "real" damage?).

The course is quite hilly around DC.  Two big hills at mile 6 and 23 - each about 200 ft.  Garmin says the climbing for the whole race is a little over 1,000 ft.

Race Start
About 6:30 I drank a bottle of UCAN; 6:50 I walked up to Corral 1, did my usual warm-up exercises of leg swings and lunge matrix, took off my extra (throw away) clothes, and off we went!

The Good

First 5 miles: Based on my Strava splits, I was able to control my pace the first 5 miles.  I was in a pretty large group of guys, and settled in pretty good, got a little fast on mile 3 -
  • Splits: 6:45 / 6:45 / 6:37 / 6:41 / 6:43 - (about right, maybe a little too fast).
Mile 6 - 10: Mile 6 / 7 had a couple good climbs, I let the pace go some to adjust as I planned.  Then mile 8 - 10 were more downhill, I feel the paces here were pretty good - I might have gone over the top of mile 6 a little too hard - it got pretty steep the quarter mile.  Mile 7 I started drinking the UCAN I've been carrying.  Drinking on the down hills, to minimize the affect of my breathing.  At mile 10 I'm feeling good.  No issues so far.  I did let the bigger group I was running with go on the hill at mile 6, and tagged onto a smaller group coming up from behind.
  • Splits: 6:54 / 7:04 / 6:44 / 6:36 / 6:39 - (pretty good considering the up's and down's)
Mile 11 - 15:  I threw the UCAN bottled down around mile 11.  I had "almost" finished it.  I SHOULD HAVE finished it.  I didn't drink enough.  I felt fine, but was having trouble getting it down.  I practiced it during my training, but it was different in the race...gotta think about that one.  At mile 12 I picked up a bottle of Gatorade from my Son.  Thx Hunter!  At mile 12.5 I passed my friend Kyle and his family.  Big "pick me up"...thanks!  The RNR site says my Half Split was 1:29.  I was now running with one other runner from Europe who was tracking by kilometers which made for some funny conversation (of should I say a couple words between breaths)
  • Splits:  6:47 / 6:59 / 6:49 / 6:41 / 6:48 - (still feeling good, but starting to feel the effort)
Mile 16 - 20:  I didn't recognize it at the time, but my pace started to drop off some at this point.  I let the European go, and grabbed onto another runner who was holding a good pace I thought I could hold.  Mile 16 - 17 crossed a river and got us out to an exposed section of the course, going over the bridge sucked.  Running back into town against the wind sucked more.  At the mile 17 market I took a gel.  Mile 18 turned down wind, which helped, but I was losing steam.  I remember the mile 18 timing sign said 2:03:xx.  I was happy with that because that is right about where I wanted to be.  But on mile 19 - 20 I started suffering and got a side stitch, which slowed me some more to try and get my breathing back.  I passed Kyle again at mile 20 - with cowbell in tow - he ran along and said how you feeling?  I remember saying "Like shit!".  Kyle gave me some words of encouragement which pepped me up some, I had my breathing back now...
  • Splits: 6:54 / 6:54 / 6:59 / 6:53 / 7:03
The Bad

Mile 21-22: Starting to slow a little more now.  Really trying to focus on the present, keep my form, and get some motivation going.....it's kinda' working.  I was supposed to take a gel at mile 21 - I didn't.  By mile 22 I'm struggling mightily....
  • Splits: 7:02 / 7:32 - losing it....
The Ugly

Mile 23-26.3:  Mile 23 is the second big hill of the race, about 200 feet.  As soon as I started the climb my right hamstring locked up.  I mean....STOPPED working and seized.  I  panicked some and tried to run thru it, then my left hamstring locked up.  I started walking.  Never had this before.  Someone ran by and said "Want a gel?"  I realized I hadn't taken my gel, so I took it while walking / jogging up the hill.  Mile 24 was downhill, and I managed to run down it.  Mile 25 was flat - and my calves cramped up and locked, and I wasn't even able to walk for a few minutes.  I started getting cold and got the shakes.  I tried to keep moving forward - walking / jogging / standing.  Mile 26 was just about all walking.  I couldn't even take two steps running.  It really sucked, it felt like I was getting hypothermia.  Around the mile 26 mark Kyle showed up again and walked along side me.  He said something like "If you finish within 2 minutes you get a BQ" - this got me moving again.  (Side note:  I'll be 50 in a few months, so my Boston BQ is 3:25).  I was able to sort of hobble to the finish....I was totally out of it at this point.  Shaking from the cold, and I couldn't see or think straight.
  • Splits: 10:27 / 8:31 / 11:26 / 15:37 / 4:11 (last bit)
Total Time:  3:23:06(I was on pace to 3:00 - 3:05 or so, thru 22 miles)

I was completely out of it after the race.  I was shaking uncontrollably and disoriented.  Luckily, my son found me and walked me back to the car with my arm over his shoulder.  I couldn't walk on my own.  I put on dry clothes in the back of the car, threw up the little bit of post race Gatorade I could get down, and continued to shake terribly for an hour in the car - with my hips and calves continuing to cramp.  It's been 24 hours post race now and I can walk - sort of - but stairs are very difficult.

The Lesson
  1. The marathon is the real deal.  I can't "finish" on guts like races up to HM.
  2. I must have "hit the wall" around mile 21-22.  I need to re-think my fueling...I think I need more calories / glycogen.
  3. Cramps - are what really stopped me in my tracks.  I think I could have saved a 3:10 marathon if not for the cramping.  I've already started researching how to stop the cramping....
    1. I've found some ideas on strength training
    2. Changes to my long runs (?)
  4. I've now run a marathon and know what everyone's talking about.  I now GET IT.
    1. So...experience is the best lesson?  Maybe....
  5. I will run another one some day...but I will also study what happened in this race and do my best to adjust and improve.  I will get up again....I see the Myrtle Beach SC marathon is flat....that's one year away.
Congrats to all those folks who finished the RNR DC marathon yesterday!  I now have bigger respect for all marathon finishers than ever! 

Sorry for the long post....thanks for reading.  Any comments?  Got your own marathon war stories?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Running Log Week Ending March 5 (SIX days till marathon)

ONE week left!  Let the "antsiness" begin!

So, this week is a full on taper week.  I did two MP workouts, but they are shorter than prior, I'm also running 5 days this week instead of six, and I had two days of "brisk walk", instead of one.

Since my marathon is on a Saturday, this week also "adjusts" my workout days accordingly.  What would have been a Saturday workout is moved to Friday.

Started off the week feeling pretty good. I'm rested, but feel flat.  Don't know if it's physical or mental....I've read and heard crazy stories about folks feel "off" during taper....so I'm assuming this is "normal".

Tuesday Workout -  Assignment is10 miles:  2 wu; 3@MP; 0.5@ HMP; 3@MP; 1.5 cd.  I did the workout on the WOD in the Herndon area - which is NOT flat - and the same route as last week's similar workout.  I averaged 6:41 over the MP miles, about the same as last time....and TOO fast for my goal MP of 6:45-6:50.  It wasn't that I was working too hard, I'm just having a hard time finding my groove around 6:45, and I don't think I can run a full marathon at 6:40 pace

Friday Workout:  10 mi; last 5 @ MP.   I really wanted to average 6:45 For the marathon pace portion, ended up with 6:42.  I also ran a little too fast In the early miles, accidentally dippin into MP.

I've had a slight niggle in my left calf the last week or so.  The same spot put out of running for a few weeks in December, so I went to a physio for an adjustment and some work on the calf.   All seems good. Hypochondriac anyone?

So....based on my HM last November and Yasso workouts, my MP should be about 6:50.  But every MP workout I've done has ended up between 6:42 and 6:45.   I really want to break 3:00, and it seems like most marathon "actual" distance is about 26.4 to 26.5, so I'll need a pace about 6:46.   That's the plan.

 Weekly mileage: 36 (+ 6 mi. walking over two separate days)

Long Run: N/A

Weight: 138


Monday - 45' E w/strides on WOD.  Felt "fine".  5.8 mi (7:40 pace).  Rolling and stretching

Tuesday - 10 miles:  2 wu; 3@MP; 0.5@ HMP; 3@MP; 1.5 cd. on WOD.  MP/HMP pace (6:41 avg).  Felt pretty good, but kinda' flat.  Strength work.  Some stretching.

Wednesday - 45' walk.   About 3 miles.   Rollin and stretching

Thursday - 35' E w/strides.   Had to pay attention to not go too fast.  Feelin peppy.   4.6 mi.  Rollin and stretching.  

Friday - 10 mi; 5@MP.   Overall avg 6:55.   MP avg 6:42.  Light core.  Hip mobility.  Feel ready to go.

Saturday -45' walk....3 mi

Sunday - 45' E w/strides.   All systems go.  Light core work.  Hip mobility.  5.7 mi

That is all.  Carry on.....