Apr 23, 2006

Sunday Brick

Having already logged about 60 miles on the bike in the past few days, I was anxious to get back on the run so I planned a 50/10 bike/run brick workout today. I started at the base of Cedar Point Hill and planned to go 15 miles south and turn around so that I could re-fuel at my car after 30-miles. The final 20 miles would be done on my "normal" route out to the Marina (10 miles) and back. Part of the parkway was closed due to debris in the road so the first few miles were done on the actual bike path, which is always a little scary riding on because some of the turns are tight and visibility is not the greatest. I got back on the road as soon as possible and hit my 15-mile turnaround point after laboring up a few hills in N. Royalton. The best thing about going uphill is the downhill on the return! I had my GPS with me and clocked 39.7 mph near the base of the hill! I found myself riding into a bit of a headwind heading north but managed to maintain about 17 mph on average. Got back to my car and loaded up on more Gatorade and downed a GU (God I love those things!). At the 40-mile point I was relieved to turn around and catch what I thought was going to be a nice tailwind. However, it seemed that the wind shifted on me as I was fighting it on several occasions and was nearly blown sideways at one point. Although my legs felt relatively good, I found myself coasting more during those last 10-miles than I was at any other time during the ride. All in all, the 50-miler felt great. Hopped off of my bike and tried to transition to the run as fast as possible. I had to break down my bike and shove it in the back of my car, throw on my running shorts, put my socks and running shoes on, hit the bathroom and hit the road. Legs (specifically hamstrings) felt a little tight at first but loosened up considerably after about 2 miles. I was surprised to see my mile splits right around 7-minutes even though it didn't feel like I was going that fast (Bryce said he feels the same way off the bike). Hit the 5-mile turnaround and downed one last GU (God I love those things!). It's amazing how fast 10 miles can go by after having just spent 3-hours on a bike. I believe my last mile was 6:44 and I felt strong. Legs were starting to weaken.... or was it that they still hadn't fully recovered from Boston 6 days ago. Time will tell on that one. I stretched for a bit at my car and enjoyed a peanut butter PowerBar on the way home. I recently signed up for the Little Smokies 1/2 Ironman at the end of May, which is less than 5 weeks away. Time to get my swim on now!

Apr 19, 2006

Boston Marathon 2006

Another Boston in the books! As much as I love Boston, the one thing that bugs me is that it comes and goes so fast! We just broke into the 50's this past week and already my spring marathon is history. Luckily I have a lot coming up this summer to look forward to and my fall marathon can rest comfortably on the backburners until July/August. Anyway, Cliff notes version of Boston... Race Number: 5012, Starting Position: Corral 5, Official Time: 3:05:02, Overall Place: 1,542/22,519

Race conditions were nearly ideal as I made my way to Boston Common to catch the bus to Hopkinton. Elizabeth and I took a cab to the buses and managed to get into a relatively quick moving line. In about 15 minutes we were loaded up and on our way to the start. When we finally made it to the athletes village (after having been lost and dropped off a mile from where we were supposed to be), we quickly made the decision to take refuge in the "second" athletes village, which was a lot less crowded and seemingly a bit more relaxed. We hung out with some of the runners from the Massachusets chapter of Team In Training until it was finally time to head towards the corrals. We peeled our sweats, lathered ourselves in sunblock and bodyglide and dumped our bags on the baggage buses, which were neatly lined up right outside of the school. Liz walked with me to my starting corral and wished me luck. I still had about 1/2-hour to kill so I did some light stretching and a lot of pacing around. I snuck out of my corral to make one last bathroom stop with about 5 minutes to spare. From my corral, I heard the starting gun go off and it was time to go. At first, I didn't move at all but after about 15 seconds the crowd started to walk, which shortly turned into a slow jog until finally the official starting line crossed under my feet and I was officially on the clock.

The downhill start at Boston is so dangerous because it's so tempting to fly down that first hill. However, on this day, the crowd wouldn't let me go any faster than about a 7:20 pace, which was the time of my first mile. My pace band had me going 6:34 for mile 1, but I didn't fret. I figured I could make that up slowly over the next 15-16 miles. I believe mile 2 was dead on and I was feeling confident of my ability to pace myself per my pace band. I started off wearing a light racing cap but peeled it after about 4 miles. At 10K I felt really good and was already thinking ahead towards the Heartbreak series of hills. I tried to keep my mind occupied by listening to nearby runners or simply eyeing runners up ahead to see if I could keep up. A few miles back I had passed the 2 "jogglers" who were aiming to break the world record for joggling. I was still on pace as I came into Wellesley College. The girls were out in force but not as loud as last year. Last year at this point I was desperately searching for a port-o-potty, but not this year. I cruised through the 1/2-way mark on pace for a 2:58. Although this was promising, I knew it'd be tough to maintain pace through the hills and then finish nearly as strong as I started. After Wellesley, the only thing left to do is prepare for the hills as they were only a few short miles away. I swear as soon as you see the sign for Newton, a hill appears! This time it was clear to me... the first hill of the Heartbreak series is the worst!! My splits fell off as did my legs. I crested Heartbreak and re-focused. I knew it was going to be very hard to clock 6:40's at this point so I just ran as hard as I could without looking at my clock too much. I passed Boston College and could see the famous Citgo sign up ahead. It was still about 2 miles away but it was a beautiful sight nonetheless. The crowds at this point really started to thicken up and helped to carry me through the final miles. At about the 25.4 mile mark, just prior to the new hill, I saw up ahead of me Rick and Dick Hoyt. I couldn't believe it! I had caught them despite their 1/2-hour head start. I was dreaming about seeing them in action and there they were. I pulled even with them and yelled some inspirational words in their direction. They didn't need to say a word. Just the sight of that man busting ass for his son was enough to get me through to the end and finish on a high! The turn onto Hereford and then on to Boylston was just as amazing as I remember from last year. I soaked it all in and managed to spot Teresa in the crowd near the finish! When we met in the family meeting area a few minutes after the finish, Teresa handed me a single pink rose and a big hug! I nearly cried because there are so many "moments" at Boston that I will cherish forever! This was surely one of them! My time qualifies me to come back again next year but I'm hoping to run my sub-3 this fall in Chicago and will use that time for my entry into Boston 2007.

Apr 12, 2006

Massage Wednesday!

A week and a half ago when I went for my last massage, I scheduled one for today knowing that it'd be great for my legs going into Boston. I could feel the benefits from my first massage over the past week in that my legs haven't felt as fatigued like they sometimes do over a long distance. Plus, todays massage wasn't nearly as painful as the last one, so I know things are starting to loosen up. Teresa jokingly asked why I didn't make an appointment for her so I brought some of the "magical" massage lotion home with me to pamper her a bit. It's not the same as sending her to a spa for the day, but I try! I've gotta start packing tomorrow! How friggin' exciting! Only 4-1/2 more days!

Champioin Care Bear! A good luck present from Teresa

Apr 11, 2006

Loosening the Legs

Did some light speedwork on the track tonight with a group of about 12! The workout consisted of 3x400 (3:00 rest in between), 3x800 (5:00 rest in between) and 3x400 again. Lou and I paced off of each other the whole time and managed to record some pretty fast times. I think our fastest 400 was 1:09 and the fastest 800 was 2:43. My goal, especially in the 400's, was to establish a good pace for the first 200 and bring it home strong. It's funny how you can feel your legs start to go at certain points. I'm convinced that having someone to pace with is the only way to maintain pace at these times. Perhaps I can apply the same logic to Boston for the final miles when 1/2 of my leg muscles are chillin' back at Heartbreak Hill.

Went to eat at Olive Garden with Teresa, Nikya, Steve and Bridget. Food was awesome and I even got a good luck present from S&B. They were thoughtful enough to put together a bag of goodies to keep me occupied on the plane, including a puzzle book, some dry-erase markers, a bag of Skittles and some Sunkist jellybeans! Steve also brought along some Tyr goggles for me to try out in the pool when I return.

Stretching w/ Nikya

My Goodie Bag!!

Apr 10, 2006

It's Countdown Time!

Met with Cathy and Kevin at 6:30 for our final "long" run before Boston. The plan was to do 12 with all of the normal hills. There's something very intimidating about the heartbreak series of hills in Boston. We could have easily skipped the hills today but the thought of red-lining with 6 miles to go was enough to keep us from getting complacent. I think the most substantial gain I've made during this training season is the ability to quickly recover after speeding up a hill. This will be crucial in Boston especially in the miles leading up to Heartbreak Hill. Having run Boston last year, I have identified several places on the course that I will perform mini-celebrations! The top of Heartbreak Hill may just top the list. Last year there was a big blow-up football jersey (or something) located at the crest of the famous hill that said 5.5 to go! Second to Heartbreak is the final two turns of the course. The first onto Hereford St. and the second onto Boylston St. where the finish line is finally visible! If you know ahead of time what you're running into, you can get such an adrenaline rush at this point of the course. It's exactly what's needed to get through the final 1/4-mile!

Anyway, The run was great and we all went out for breakfast at Panera's afterwords. I couldn't choose between a strawberry & cream pastry or a banana-nut "muffie"... so I got both, plus a huge carmel latte! I should have taken a picture of the latte! It was heaven in a cup!

Apr 7, 2006

Warm Weather Thursday

Woke up at 4:20 to meet with the group at 5:00 for a 10-miler. I wore shorts today thinking that it was going to be in the low 40's but it turned out to be closer to the low 30's. I wasn't too bothered by this as I still had on a long sleeve base-layer, a light thrermal pullover, my gloves and a winter hat. We went out too slow for my liking but had picked up the pace quite a bit by mile 3 or so. Because of daylight savings a few days ago, we once again found ourselves running in the dark. Total time was around 1:16:48, which is about 7:40/mile. It's becoming very apparent how antsy everyone is to get to Boston. After our group run on Sunday we are planning on going to breakfast together... kinda symbolic since it'll probably be the last time we meet as a group before we part ways to tackle our spring marathons. On another note, We're up to Sunday the 16th in the 10-day Boston weather forecast and it's still looking good!

mid 50's and sunny!!!!

Apr 5, 2006

Speed-Work Tuesday

After all of the long runs I've been doing lately, I really felt the need to get out and do some speedwork. Half of our normal group was attending a triathlon clinic tonight so it was a small group of 5 of us. The track was being used for a track meet...bastards!, so we made up our own "mile" course and did mile repeats. Sweet Lou took off a little too fast for my liking on the first mile so I dropped back and fell into a pace I was comfy with (knowing that I had 2 more to come). The wind was whipping pretty good tonight so half of our loop was really tough while the other half was a breeze, literally! We adjusted our loop after the first rep because our times were telling us that it was a couple hundred meters short. The final 2 reps were a little closer to a full mile, but not quite there. It was still a good workout and I was happy to become reaquainted with my fast-twitch muscle fibers.

I checked the 10-day weather forecast for Boston and it's looking like overcast 50's up until Friday the 14th. Doesn't look like it's going to be too warm, but there's a chance it'll be a little too cold and possibly rainy.

Apr 1, 2006

Finally Taper Time!

With 16 days left until Boston, I'm going to start my taper. A lot of literature recommends a 3-week taper, but I have a hard time with that because I feel so lazy by the third week. Almost to the point of not believing that I actually have what it takes to run 26.2. Liz and I pounded out a solid 21-miler this morning that included plenty of uphills and downhills. I felt extremely good at the end and am going to do everything I can to ride this high all the way until noon on the 17th. We talked a lot about race strategies this morning and I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with my original plan for Boston. I also discussed this with my new best friend, CJ the massage therapist, during my afternoon session and he seems to agree with what I have in mind. Dude knows a lot about physiology and what a body is capable of doing. Now let's hope the weather cooperates! I'm going to take it easy tomorrow (per CJ's recommendation), which for me will mean a couple hour bike ride and some swimming (non-impact stuff). Thanks Liz for helping me knock out that distance this morning! Our moment of celebrating the fact that it's now our turn to taper was very funny!