Sunday, January 31, 2010

Month in Running: January

I closed out January today with an 18-mile long run, the farthest I've gone since the Harrisburg Marathon. This month marked the start of training for Boston. It went pretty well. Overall, I ran 152 miles and 19 days. I supplemented that by swimming seven miles in seven sessions. Twenty-six workouts in 31 days is pretty good. The Manhattan Half Marathon was the highlight, giving me some confidence that I'll be in shape to run a decent Boston. The majority of my running took place in Central Park. My bet is this will get me ready for the hills.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Manhattan Half Marathon Report

Today was the first test of the Boston Marathon training. I really only began Jan. 1, since December was probably my worst month for running in a decade. My training log shows just 31 miles run in the entire month, a mere mile a day. Lots of stuff prevented me from getting out there as much as I'd have liked. That's alright, since the body needs time to regenerate. Even mentally, I can't train hard all the time anymore.

Rather than regurgitate the details, I'll re-post my race breakdown from DailyMile. This qualifies as a success in my book. According to the race predictor, my time puts me on track for a 3:08 marathon. Right where I'd like to be.

DM post:
A successful race overall. The Manhattan Half has special significance to me because in 2002, when it was still held in August, I suffered mightily, kept stupidly pushing a sub-7 pace in 90 degrees, and ended up collapsed at mile 12 with severed dehydration. Ending a race at Mt. Sinai Hospital is never a good thing. Thankfully, the race subsequently was moved to the winter, so that wasn't going to happen again.

Going in, I didn't have any defined goal, other than run under 1:35 and feel strong throughout. i borrowed a number from @jim k b/c he wasn't able to run the race. The downside of this was getting corralled farther back than I should. The upside was passing lots of people. I forgot to bring a gel. That's OK because the half distance is right between where I feel like I need that kind of boost. The splits all over the place. Central Park's topography is probably partly to blame -- there are rolling hills with two significant ones, cat and harlem hills. The course was two loops of the park with an extra 1.1 tacked on at the end.
Mile 1: 7:56, good practice of squeezing through tight spaces
Mile 2: 7:06, finally getting room to run normally
Mile 3: 6:47, a surprise split but the fastest part of the course going downhill before Harlem Hill
Mile 4: 7:01, this is the biggest hill of the course
Mile 5: 6:50
Mile 6: 6:42, completed the first loop
Mile 7: 6:44, a DM sighting of Running L pacing some runners to 1:35
Mile 8: 6:54, includes the second time up Cat Hill
Mile 9: 6:44, like mile 3 a fast one
Mile 10: 7:06, Harlem Hill for the second time
Mile 11: 6:47, always find it much easier running a course I know quite well
Mile 12: 6:42
Mile 13: 6:37, still had energy
final .1: :40

Not a bad day, particularly this early in training. Throwing out the crappy first mile, I averaged 6:50 miles on a tough course. The only mile that stands out as weak is the 7:06 at mile 10. Still, it's understandable all things considered. I'm most encouraged that the last mile was the fastest and I didn't end totally wiped out -- or with an IV in my arm. It ranks in my top five fastest half marathons.

Monday, January 18, 2010

13 Weeks to Boston

Exactly 13 weeks from today, I'll line up in Hopkington to make my way to the city of Boston in the marathon. I first ran the race in 2003, coming off a great race at Chicago the previous fall. I made several mistakes in preparation, including running a 50k race in February as a "training run." I found out that fatigued me more than I thought. The race went terribly. I had thoughts of running under three hours, only to realize five miles in that I was in trouble. The final 16 miles weren't so fun. I finished in 3:30, sunburned, depleted and dejected.

This time will be different. After a break from much running due to an illness and some other stuff, I've strung together about a month of solid training. I'm only running four times a week. The idea is to make the runs productive, much like my Harrisburg preparation. This isn't the way I want to train, it's the way I have to train without aggravating my still-balky Achilles problem. I'm mixing in two nights of swimming to offset the missed miles. There's no real way to replace running miles, of course. When I start to get into the peak weeks of training, I'll probably add in another day of running.

So far, training is going well. Last week, I ran 30 miles and swam another two. My long run is up to 15 miles, without many problems other than regular Achilles soreness. Thanks to a stomach problem a month ago, I'm off ibuprofen entirely. I'm stuck with ice if stuff hurts.

That leaves the big question of a goal for Boston. I want to be completely realistic. I don't have the capacity or really interest this winter in killing myself in training. The course is very tough, too. With all that in mind, my goal is to qualify again for Boston with a 3:15. That works out to 7:30 miles. I would also like to run as close to a negative split as possible. Boston starts downhill and really makes you go out too fast. This time, I won't fall into that trap.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Year in Running/Cycling/Swimming

I'm starting to really love DailyMile. One of the things it nails is community. People on DailyMile really do support one another. For me, it's nice but not incredibly important for my own motivation, but it's quite nice to see. What's more, I like seeing how other people train and, in particular, videos of where they run. The second thing DailyMile does nicely is analytics of your training. Today I was emailed a link to a page with my year in running/biking/swimming. The total mileage is screwy, since a mile running, biking and swimming is very different. The figure that most interested me is that I worked out 255 days. This is probably a little low. I'd prefer it to be closer to 300. The full report is here.