Mediocre Marathon ‘Training’

I’ve been somewhat preparing for the Bayshore marathon through the winter and into the spring. Realistically, my workouts have been more suited for 5k to half-marathon training but since I was coming off of injury, I think any workouts were better than no workouts.

As a result, I’ve had to scale back my goal expectations. Various calculators like the Daniels VDot and McMillan estimate I should be able to run under 2:50 even off of some of my more average 5k and 10k times, and something like 2:55 based off of last year’s Bayshore half time. I know I haven’t done equivalent marathon training to last year’s 5k and half marathon training so I’m hoping that I can run sub-3:05 to qualify for Boston, and would like to run 2:59 or so. I tell myself that if I qualify for Boston, that will be my first marathon on a ‘real’ training cycle.

I’m still not sure sub-3 is realistic. My long runs haven’t been long enough or frequent enough and I haven’t done enough marathon pace work or tempo runs. My longest run was 16 miles this past weekend. Tomorrow, I’ll do my last tempo run of 5-6 miles, probably around half marathon pace or just under it. After that there is nothing left to do. We’ll just have to find out what happens.

I could take the easy route out and just run this thing for fun but I’ve already done that for too many races this year. My fitness and weekly mileage may not be where I think they should be but that isn’t an excuse to shy away from running what I’m capable of for where I’m at now.

I’m going to shoot for a sub 3 hour time anyway, it could be a hilariously bad experience or it could go really well. If I don’t try, I’ll never know.

Winter and Spring 2014

Hopefully this is the last catch-up post I have to write!

Track?! Nah.

I left off the last post talking about how I was recovering from injury. While this is true, I wasn’t able to quite make it back into full shape in time for indoor or outdoor track season.

I was able to start doing some track workouts and long runs again after the beginning of 2014 with minor soreness in my foot resulting from them. I got more diligent than ever in stretching and rehab exercises and continued to make slow but distinct progress in the healing of my plantar fasciitis. I was extremely out of shape when I started doing workouts but they soon got at least a little better. I began thinking that maybe I could run a decent mile on the track before refocusing my efforts on training for the Bayshore full marathon that I happened to sign up for early in the year.

While I never quite ran what I would call a decent mile, I was able to run a 5:11 at an indoor meet at MSU. This isn’t close to my PR at all but at least I was able to start racing again! I also raced a 3k that went very poorly at Illinois – 10:49 for that. I later ran 18:10 for 5k at the NIRCA outdoor track nationals meet without pushing all out during the race. That’s one recent race that I can be happy with. Still not near my PR but it’s beginning to show some fitness – especially given the limited mileage I’ve been able to run.

Ultramarathon?! I guess so.

Somewhere between signing up for Bayshore and the end of the track season, I got the crazy idea to sign up for a 50k trail race. Over distance training for the marathon, right?!

A little over a week ago I completed this race. I ran 5:15 for the 50k, it was a trail race so the distance wasn’t exact. I enjoyed this race a lot – the trails were great! It was very painful after 20 miles – for context, I crossed 20 miles at just under 3 hours. I’d love to do this race again – but better trained. I knew going in that it would be  rough given my little winter training. My longest run was something like 14 miles and I hadn’t done many trail runs because of the harsh Michigan winter. Despite that I still gave it a go! I ended up 30th overall which wasn’t quite what I was looking for but was still good enough to win a cool clear-glass mug!Photo: 26 miles down, 5 to goMe, 26 miles down.

And another photo of the medal and the mug:Photo: So this morning I ran 31+ miles through the woods and when I got done some random people handed me this cup. Strange.

Onward to a Full Marathon!

My racing for the spring season doesn’t end at that 50k. Just 4 weeks after my first ultra, I’m still scheduled to run the Bayshore full! I’ve been focusing on trying to recover quickly enough from the 50k to get one more long run in before it’s time to taper for the marathon. That’s a tight schedule and I’m hoping it gives enough time.

My goal is to run a sub-3 hour time and qualify for Boston. We’ll see how that works but I’m telling myself that 20 miles in 3 hours on the Poto trails last weekend were pretty darn close to 26.2 in 3 hours on a flat road course. Only time will.

And Beyond:

After Bayshore I think I’ll take a little time away from long distance running and focus on building mileage again with some 5-10k races. And GLR, can’t forget that!

Then I’ll be moving to SF soon after that for a new job! Exciting! Maybe I’ll return to the trails when I get back to California.

Summer Running Recap 2013

This post has been a long time coming… and has morphed into a recap of all running I did between summer and the end of the year in December

Summer 2013: In which I learn about trail running, run more miles per week and per day than ever before, have some crazy trail running adventures, and become injured.

Summer Training

I’ll start with my summer training. I picked my training back up after taking a little time easy after the Bayshore Half and began to ramp up the mileage again. It was a little more difficult to do this than expected: I had a few nagging aches and pains despite the time off and moving to San Francisco for the summer on a new work schedule disrupted my running a bit, but overall, I was pleased with the ramp up period.

I was able to start hitting 40-60 mile weeks again fairly quickly. My goal for the summer was to ramp up to consistently higher weekly mileage than I had done before – I wanted to run 80 mile weeks. By the end of July, I had run my first 80 mile week. That was exciting! More on that week in a bit.

Training was going well. I was enjoying my internship and enjoying my running. I was hittings the mileage hard to have a great last NIRCA cross country season. What happened?

At the beginning of the summer training cycle I started using new shoes for some of my runs. The Saucony Mirage 2, I actually really love that shoe and it took a beating this summer and was still in great shape.

There were a few problems though, mostly my fault. The first was that I probably ramped up the amount of mileage I was doing in the new shoe too quickly, especially since it’s way less of a shoe than my normal super supportive Asics. Next, while I wasn’t doing a lot of running on the San Francisco hills, I WAS walking up and down an extremely steep hill to get to the bus each day. One of the steepest in the city, I’m told. While this isn’t really a big deal, it probably didn’t help my already too-tight calves. Lastly, I started playing weekly games of Ultimate after work with some other interns. While that was a lot of fun, I played barefoot much of the time and I think that also contributed to my situation.

In the end, it all culminated into an injury. It was relatively minor at first but progressed to the point where I couldn’t put any weight on my foot in the morning before I finally accepted that I needed to stop running. Plantar Fasciitis. Fun times. I’ve learned my lesson as I’m still dealing with it.

Summer Races and Adventures

Over the course of my summer in California I  met some great people and had some fantastic adventures, all thanks to running!

I was convinced to go race Table Rock with new friends who were into trail running. I did the 10k while they ran the 27k. This just happened to be at the end of my first 80 mile week.

It was a great race and I had a lot of fun. Going in I knew that there was a crazy hill at the beginning of the race but I was confident that I could compete for the win – and the possibility of a course record. For context, nobody has gone under 60 minutes on the 10k course. The winner was able to set a new record of 60:07 which was a few minutes faster than the previous record. I didn’t really know what I was getting into but still managed to eek out a 68:26 which was good enough for 4th place after I took two wrong turns. What an introduction to trail racing that was!

As far as racing goes, that was the only serious race of the summer for me – and turned out to be one of the few races I ran seriously for months after.

Ultras and Mountains and Glaciers, oh my!

I did manage to have a few other running related adventures. On a whim, I agreed to pace and crew for my friend Lucas for part of his first 100 miler since one of his other pacers had to back out last minute. This was an interesting experience for me and Lucas ran a great race (and won)! I had a lot of fun and this was my first introduction to ultras.

I could write much more about that day but I’ll just say that running on the trails in the Marin headlands was simply fantastic and running through those hills with no light but a headlamp was both eery and peaceful at the same time. one of the fantastic views during the SF 100 miler

Later in the summer that same group of us went to Alaska and did some running. Through the woods and in the mountains and even up Exit Glacier.

Exit Glacier!

This trip was essentially the end of my summer running adventures. After this point I started trying to rehab my foot a bit because I realized that I would have not even a small part of my cross country season if I didn’t attempt to take care of it.

I started taking days off and biking instead. I started stretching more. However when I got back to Ann Arbor I got caught up in getting in shape for cross country again. I began running higher mileage again, did a trail half marathon for fun, and did the first track workout of the year. The next day I couldn’t put weight on my foot – I had to accept that it was time to take more drastic measures.

I eventually started going to physical therapy. Through I wasn’t told I had to take off completely, I took about 3 weeks off and then began running maybe 20 miles a week again. This didn’t completely heal my foot but I was able to run. It wouldn’t hurt while running but still got rather tight after runs. Uneven ground such as trails and grass was even worse than flat pavement.

In the end, my lesson was that I didn’t listen to my body when it was hurting and then was too stubborn to do what was right. As a result I missed out on both cross country and track. I ran some races but was doing them non-competitively. Thankfully, now I’m well on my way to recovery.

2246.9.

All said, by the end of 2013 I had run 2246.9 miles. To reflect a bit on 2013 and some of my running goals for the year: The only main goal that I achieved was to complete my first (and second, trail) half marathon. I did that at Bayshore. The other two goals of sub-17 and of running a 100 week didn’t happen partially due to my inability to train.

Some of my secondary goals were a sub-36 10k, 3000 miles for the year, and to finish a marathon. None of these were completed either. I was on pace for 3000 miles until I had to reduce training volume in the late summer. Hopefully in 2014 I can run a few more total miles for the year than in 2013!