Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recovery Month

I have a bad post-marathon habit: getting hurt. The way it usually goes, I do fine recovering from the race, then start to feel completely out of shape. That's the strange part about marathons: other than the race itself, there's disturbingly little running for about six weeks, considering a three-week taper and three-week recovery. When I finally do start running, naturally it ends up being too much, too soon. I'm trying not to repeat this with low mileage but moderate intensity. Taking into account lights and stuff, my pace is probably at 7:20. But I'm only doing five miles at a clip with no real long runs. I hope to keep it this way through the holidays, aiming for 10-11 days every two weeks. We'll see. My hamstring's a little tight and I get creeping hints of ITB syndrome.

5 miles, 38:20

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back in the Swing

This week, I ran six days for the first time in a while. It reinforced an oddity of training. The fifth straight day running for me is easier because my body is used to it. I'm not running far -- mostly, five miles a go -- but the pace is getting better: today's run was at about 7:20 per mile. My goal for the rest of the year is to do 30 miles per week regularly, which isn't so easy with holiday parties and work obligations. My secondary goal is to stay at 160, another thing that's not as easy when you're out at parties with lots of food and drink. Come the New Year, training starts for real.

5 miles, 36:45.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The 2:59 Project

Watching marathons leads people to make rash vows. Next year, that'll be me. Maybe it was yesterday's race, or more likely the incredible racing and human drama from Saturday's trials, but it got me thinking about what's next for me and running. (Actually, it came up in a very loud, awful bar on the Upper East Side, but it was after a marathon party.) I've now run 10 regular marathons and two 50Ks. I'd like to move up to a 50-miler, eventually run Comrades. But there's something I need to try: running under 3:00. Two years ago, I had my shot. I ran a 1:28 in the first half of the race, and stayed strong. I did a 6:47 mile 22. In my head, I was there. The last few miles are always hard mentally, and I relaxed. There was a twinge in my calf, so why push it and risk a cramp. In the end, it wasn't until after mile 25 that I realized my math was off: the marathon is 26.2, not 26. I finished in 3:01:04 and pissed. My mom actually remarked that I didn't look that exhausted, and she was right. I had more, and I blew it. It's time to fix that, I think. My goal for 2008 is to do 2:59. It's going to be super hard. I'm about 10 pounds heavier than when I ran Philly in 2005. I'll need to lose a couple of those, add more strength to stay strong, and run a lot. This will also give the Pigdog a mission: documenting what could be a yearlong quest to run sub 6:50 miles for 26.2 straight miles. Right now, I'm not even close, but I know I can get there.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ryan Shay

This morning, Ryan Shay lined up for what might have been the biggest race of his life, a moment he's been working toward for years. Less than an hour and a half later, after collapsing outside the Boathouse, he was dead at 28. Any untimely death is senseless, but I can't help feeling this one is particularly so. His wife and in-laws were there for what could have been a life-defining moment: making an Olympic marathon team. There will be an autopsy, and I'm sure it'll find the same thing that felled Jason Collier and Reggie Lewis: an undetected heart defect. What I can't get over is the timing. Why today? Before idiots start claiming this just proves running marathons is "nuts," remember he was one of the fittest people on the planet, an elite athlete. He was running at a pace that, for him, wasn't all that stressful even. He'd done it so many times before, so why today? We'll never know, of course. I liked what Ryan Hall's coach, who briefly coached Shay, said about him: "If you probably asked him if there was any way he wanted to go, it was out on the race course."