Dec 28, 2008

Base Mileage

Tomorrow marks 16 weeks until Boston! Knocked out 20 miles yesterday to cap off a solid week of base training. April still seems so far away but will seem a lot less distant in a few days when the 8 turns to a 9. Received the first of several newsletters from the Boston Athletic Association with the news that two of the most promising American distance runners, Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher, will be joining the elite field on 4/20.

The holiday season was very kind to my family as we were fortunate enough to see many loved ones over a 3-4 day period. I'm stoked for New Year's eve as Teresa and I will watch the ball drop while celebrating the marriage of our friends Lexi and Keith at the Terrace Club of Jacob's Field (I will never call it Progressive Field). As a groomsmen, I get to pimp out in a black suit!

Happy New Year! Don't wait until Jan 1 to make changes in your life... Start today!

Dec 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! 2008 will be nothing but a memory before too long. Things with the twins are getting more and more interesting by the day. Both little guys are walking (practically running), are very curious, and very loving towards Teresa and I as well as each other. There's already some sibling rivalry but they make up with each other in no time. Just yesterday Teresa caught on film one of the things I've been looking forward to ever since before they were born. I saw on a TV program about multiples how at approximately 1-year of age, one of their favorite games will be to play with each other through a thin sheet placed between them. It's supposedly very much like simulating their "playtime" through amniotic sacs while in the womb. They were giggling like crazy. Too cute.

122 days until Boston (17-1/2 weeks). I believe I'm in good enough shape to begin an advanced level training program that I've developed for myself with the help of Jack Daniels and Joe Bowman. I've got sub-3 on the brain. Have no idea if it's do-able, but I'm gonna shoot for it. Sometimes getting in "sub-3" shape is more rewarding than realizing the actual goal.

Nov 12, 2008

Walking

Friday, while Teresa and I were at work, Caden took his first steps with the help of Teresa's parents. It was such a nice treat to come home from work and see him taking 3-4 wobbly steps before crashing. We practiced some more over the weekend and he's now walking steadily for about 10-15 feet. The look on his face is priceless. So proud of himself. What's more entertaining is the look on Cole's face as he watches in amazement with a big smile.

This past week has been perfect running weather and I've taken advantage by getting out in the mornings for an hour or so. My new favorite piece of running gear is my Nike Sphere Dry Hoody. I can wear it as a mask or pull it down under my nose/mouth if I get too warm. Also, it provides complete coverage of my ears and neck. My Bolega socks are a close second at this point.

Direct your positive vibes south this weekend as Elizabeth returns to Richmond, VA to tackle their marathon. Give it hell!

Nov 5, 2008

A Plan?

In 2-3 weeks, I will start peppering in some workouts specifically designed by one of the most consistent sub-3 hour marathoners in the world, Joe Bowman. In the meantime I plan to increase my mileage by running 5-6 days a week and doubling up on at least 2 of those days. To keep from getting bored, I'll hit up a different route each day and add some variety to my ipod. I think my favorite route will be the French Creek Reservation, about 2 miles from our house. The main trail winds 3/4 of a mile (mostly uphill) to a flat loop just over a mile in length. Just off of the loop is a 3/4 mile access road to the Reservation, catering to measured intervals on pavement. I'll run indoors when it's too cold and will strength 2-3 days during the week (either at home or at the gym). Geez, all this sounds too much like a plan.

Oct 16, 2008

One Year

There's no way to articulate how special the last year has been for my wife and I. It's late in the afternoon on October 16th. One year ago I was returning from a business trip to Houston. It was a very exciting time. The Indians were on the verge of making it to the World Series... every game was incredible to watch. Teresa was on bedrest in the hospital, meaning the twins could come any moment. It was fall. The weather was perfect. The air smelled of crisp leaves.

By noon the next morning we were officially parents of beautiful baby boys. The first six months were rough. Caring for and getting used to the needs of the babies was never an issue. We managed perfectly. Since I tend always to squeeze something running related into my posts, seven months after they were born, I ran a 3:02 marathon. Amazing to think I pulled that off at the same time I was doing the 4AM feedings.

The last six months have been a whirlwind! Rolling over, sitting up, holding bottles, teething, crawling, first haircut, furniture walking... It's been amazing to witness. Their interaction with each other is incredible. So indepedent but so very aware of the others presence. I cannot wait to see what's in store for the next six months and beyond!

The pic below was taken on October 9th at Portrait Innovations in Avon.

Oct 13, 2008

Accepted

With the twins birthday rapidly approaching, I prepared a list of everything that needs done around the house prior to their party. About four seconds later, I delayed starting training for Boston until next week when things are a little less hectic. I need to get it goin' soon though because the following showed up in my inbox last week...

Your entry into the 113th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20, 2009 has been accepted.

Woo hoo! I'm looking forward to Boston for so many reasons. Last week Teresa and I discussed taking a trip to either Plymouth or Rockport. Also, we may have an opportunity to visit a friend who lives near Bristol, CT and works for ESPN.

Sep 15, 2008

2008 Erie Marathon

This one's hard to summarize... My final time of 3:33:24 is my slowest marathon since May 2003. I knew I wasn't in good marathon shape and anything even close to a 3-hour marathon would be asking an awful lot of my body. However, given my 3:02 at Cleveland in May and how I felt during my long runs over the last 6 weeks, I felt 3:10-3:15 to be realistic.

Race morning... Yikes! 80 degrees, humid from the rain that passed through the day before, and a little on the windy side. I thought to myself how I've never been warm prior to starting a marathon. That's just the kind of day it was, a day of firsts. I was shirtless by mile 8 (a first) with my race bib pinned to my red split-leg shorts (another first). I had to stop for at least a minute to make this happen (not at all concerned about time). About a mile later I shoved some ice down my shorts (not only a first, but also a last!). I can't figure how I was on pace to run a 3:10 through the half because the contingency strategy was in effect since mile 7 (i.e. finish in one piece). I know more than the average bear about how hard the body must work to stay cool on a hot day and I wasn't about to make it work any harder.

It was a fun race nonetheless. Highlights include (in no particular order): running a mile with the winner of the '85 and '95 Erie Marathon, helping and being helped by others over the last 6-8 miles, very nice volunteers, not stopping to walk despite cramping quads, running faster miles 22-26 than miles 18-22, crossing the finish line, and last but not least, shaking the hand and talking with a 90-year old who ran the 1/2 in 3:04, a world record (see picture below).

I was sad Teresa had to work. She knows more than anyone what running means to me and understood my desire to squeeze this one in despite her not being there with me. She also understood how much it meant for the twins to be there with me despite the forecast of rain. I believe they were both awake at the finish line this time!

The sleeves were definitely not needed... could have ditched the shirt as well

Age group world record, Henry Sypniewski, 90 years young

Finish line in site

Happy to be done.. and proud to be an American : )

Me and my homies

Sep 11, 2008

Not Sure What to Expect

T-minus 3 days and counting. Marathon #12 is sure to be an interesting one. I'm predicting I blow up somewhere on the course and have to drag myself through the final miles. The devil on my shoulder is telling me to go out at my standard marathon pace and see what happens... the angel is urging me to take it easy, run a nice even pace consistent with your current fitness level. I think I'll lean the direction of el diablo for the first ten miles or so and rely on the lighter side of my conscious to bring me home in one piece. The weather is forecast to be nice... a little rain perhaps, but mild temps. Wish me luck!

Me and my little buddies - early August

Aug 28, 2008

The 26.2 Mile Experiment

In case anyone wonders how effective a training program is that consists primarily of long runs on the weekend, say hello to your guinea pig. I'm guessing my post marathon blog will read one of two ways. Either I have a good race and am raving about how long runs trump high weekly mileage... or, I blow up on the course and am swearing never again to neglect the tried and true training programs. Either way, I'll learn something.

Took video of the boys playing together... the smile on Cole's face (on the left) about halfway through the videw is so damn cute.

video

Aug 21, 2008

Kick-Off

Tonight is the kickoff meeting for the winter Team In Training season. I will be co-coaching for the Disney and Rock'n'Roll Arizona marathons. I've met so many great people through Team In Training and am excited about getting to know another group of runners focused on accomplishing a common goal. Once again, the experience level of the participants is as diverse as the people themselves. I'm always impressed with the experienced marathon runner who uses their abilities for a higher purpose. It's impressive enough to run a marathon for yourself but to run one for someone suffering from a life-threatening illness is beyond impressive. I try very hard to convey to my runners how they will be viewed in the eyes of the average spectator, not to mention the eyes of a young child affected by leukemia. How often in our lives do we have the opportunity to be a hero?

My training is going so-so. I've managed to squeeze in long runs of 16 and 18 miles the past two weekends, respectively. Have also managed some medium long tempo runs, hills workouts, track work, etc. I don't know what my gameplan will be come race day. Part of me is already looking forward to Boston '09, which will be marathon number 13 and mine and Teresa's first trip (of many) to Boston with our family.

Aug 6, 2008

Back at the Track

Dropped in to see some old friends ar the track in Independence last night and surprised myself by running consecutively faster 800m/400m repeats. My 4th and final 800/400 split was 2:38/1:09. Felt pretty good throughout and afterwards. Legs are pretty fresh from a relatively light schedule of late. Also helping my cause were my super lightweight Brooks T4 Racer's. Running fast is a must when wearing such flashy shoes.

After my final 400 I realized my pace (4:36 min/mile) was just a tad bit faster than what Haile Gebrselassie ran for a full 26.2 miles last fall in Berlin (4:45 min/mil). I couldn't have run 20 more feet at that pace and he rocked a full marathon at that clip!! Unbelievable. Too bad he's not running the Olympic Marathon.

Jul 28, 2008

Lighthouse Tri

Just finished a sprint distance triathlon in my hometown of Fairport Harbor. Finish time of 1:11:10 was good enough for 4th place in my age group. With a little more work in the pool I may actually place in my age group next year. I was as impressed this year with the organization of the race as I was last year. Hard to believe the race costs only $20. I've gotta get in marathon mode real soon as my next race is six weeks (and change) away. You know my silly butt will shoot for another sub-3, so I better get at it so as not to crash and burn!

On another note, watched Running on the Sun last night. This is a movie documenting the journeys of a dozen or so participants of the 1999 Badwater 135. I've since learned that a local runner placed third in that very race. The challenge of such a race is intriguing as hell, but it's not for me. I need to work out my mental issues with the marathon before even thinking about something as nutty as that.

Caden has a cold and had a rough time last night. Their room now smells worse than a nursing home (I should know, I visited one recently). Talk about Vick's Vapor rub overload. Poor little guy. He's doing good tonight.... so far!

Daryl and I getting ready

Exiting the swim in 11:26

Exiting the bike (20.9 mph average)

My support crew, sans Teresa : ( you were with me the whole time

Jul 22, 2008

Le Tour

I've been watching as the tour de France makes it's way through/up the Alps. Unfortunately, so has the spin instructor at the gym. This morning we climbed for 40-minutes non-stop. Nothing I haven't done before. It's just been a couple of years since the 12-mile climb at Ironman France. I followed it up with 3 progressively fast miles (6:47, 6:26, 5:56) to get used to the feeling of running off the bike, which I will do this weekend at a sprint distance triathlon in Fairport Harbor. I finished 6th in my age group last year and hope, at the very least, to equal that this year. If only I could cut a minute or two off of my swim time. It's nice to dream : )

Jul 18, 2008

My Eyes Burn

Why do my eyes burn? Because I swam this morning without goggles. I woke up with an urge to get in the pool and by the time I arrived at the gym, realized I forgot the one piece of equipment really needed to swim. It took about 5 minutes, but I got used to swimming "naked" and ultimately had a really good 20-minutes. I guess I'm paying for it now!


Jul 17, 2008

A couple recent pictures... You'd never know it from the picture below, but Cole has been feeling a little under the weather of late (ear infection). Caden is probably a month away (maybe sooner) from crawling. Watch out!

Caden (AKA Spanky)

Cole chillin w/ Dad

Jul 8, 2008

Milestones

Had a great 4th of July weekend! We spent a lot of time outside eating grilled hamburgers, playing bocce ball and constantly avoiding UV-B rays. Thank god for SPF-50! Teresa and I get loads of comments on how "good" Caden and Cole are, which is nice, but it makes me think of the thousands of good babies that have a hard time being out-and-about and would be labeled as "bad". We're doing a good job as parents but we're also very lucky in that our little guys have settled into a schedule that many parents only dream of.

I was recently asked by a friend what milestones the boys have hit and I didn't have a real good answer. It seems like every day they're doing something new/different but nothing that can be easily described or summed up in words. I mean, how does one explain the silly new faces being made or goofy laughter or puckering of the lips resulting in a funny noise. So many little things... Caden has started to sleep on his side... Cole likes to shake his head when he's had enough food... In the last month or two, they've both come to enjoy bathtime (except when I give them a bath and forget to put the bath pad down). The major milestones, other than sleeping through the night... they've been doing that for 2+ months, are right around the corner. Crawling, walking, talking, feeding themselves, etc.

I've been slowly working on a scrapbook for each of the boys and have a goal to finish by the 15th (one week from today). I enjoy scrapbooking but tend to get carried away, spending way too much time on one page.... which is why it's taken me so long.

Jul 2, 2008

Smiles for Sophie 5K

I'm hoping to do a 5K on the 4th of July in memory of a local girl who lost her battle with brain cancer last October. I came across the flyer on Tuesday and was immediately drawn into the what this little girls family must be feeling just a few short months after her passing. I want to reach out to her Mom and Dad and let them know I feel their pain and showing up as a complete stranger and running in her memory is perhaps the best way to do so short of giving them a big hug and crying with them. This is the first of what will be an annual event and even though each 4th of July (her birthday - 7/4/03) will bring with it the same heartache, I'm hoping memories from these races will bring joy to their lives and give them something to celebrate and look forward to each year.

http://www.smilesforsophieforever.org/events.asp

Jun 20, 2008

Fun in the Sun

Took some great pics last night of Caden and Cole playing in what will eventually be our dining room. The room is sun-bathed in the evenings and they had fun discovering their shadows, rolling around, laughing and being silly with each other. We had fun just watching them take everything in. Cole in blue, Caden in red.

Landscaping

Making progress on the landscaping. All the shrubs/plants in this picture now have a home in the ground. All except for the two junipers in the back. We're going to exchange them for some more golden cypress.

Jun 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

I haven't run since last Friday morning and am feeling no need to get back on the roads just yet. Although I'm thinking of racing the Shot in the Dark 4-miler, which I believe is sometime mid-July. I want to match my sub-24 from 2005. Yeah, I think 4-weeks of hard running will do the trick. It's actually a relief to think about training for something other than a marathon. Something a lot less gruelling. Something that requires less time!

I'm about 75% done with my landscaping project and am 100% pleased with how things are shaping up. It's a lot of hard work and I've had a lot of help, especially last Saturday. Our yard was littered with wheelbarrows, shovels, and babies (our two, our 10-month old niece and my friends 3-month old). The day was capped off with a great dinner. Teresa whipped up two huge dishes of yummy pasta like it was nothing, followed by strawberry shortcake w/ ice cream!

Other than all that, babies are still the most incredible things ever. Cole is very much a Daddy's boy. Teresa says he's my mini-me. Caden is still our crazy guy. He went through a 3-4 day phase of laughing like Woody Woodpecker.

I'm infected with the melodic tunes of the new weezer album. They (Rivers Cuomo) never fails to please. Hope to catch them on tour this summer/fall. Going to see the new M. Night Shyamalan movie tonight with a friend. I've avoided seeing the trailer, so other than seeing the movie poster and knowing who the lead male actor is, I have no idea what to expect, which is great. I'd love to walk out of the theater feeling like I did after seeing The Sixth Sense.

Cowboy Rivers... almost as good as bearded Rivers

May 30, 2008

5.5-Mile Twinterval Run

Interval run + twins = twintervals! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get out for an evening run with the boys given the 80 degree temps. Headed over to the Black River Reservation, which offers a nice 3 mile all purpose path wide enough for the double jogging stroller (officially nicknamed the "Twinnebago"). I was excited to finally be out with the little guys and pushed the pace early. The thing about running with them is that they're always beating me : ) Hit the turnaround in 19:10, grabbed some water and headed back into an unexpected headwind. It wasn't until I hit the 5 mile mark that I heard Cole voice his displeasure/boredom. I ran the last 1/2 mile hard, despite the wind and finished the return trip in 19:15 for a total run time of 38:25. This was in addition to a 3-mile push-up run this AM.

May 29, 2008

My Landscaping Project

I started to prep what will soon be the flowerbeds at the foundation of our house. This is a project I hope to have complete by the end of next weekend. I was contemplating having a professional landscape outfit do the work but this past weekend changed my thinking. First, I met a guy who owns a landscaping company on the east side of Cleveland who offered to let me use one of those long flat pull-behind trailers in the event I want to load up a bunch of shrubs, trees, etc. from one of the many nurseries in northern Ohio. That same day, I visited a friend who happened to be in the middle of a project similar to the one I'm now planning.

Loaded with all this information, I feel a lot more confident that I can do the job myself (with a little help of course). My first step was to mark the beds using some 6" nails and household twine. Teresa and I decided on a curved pattern similar to the shape of the sidewalk leading to our front door. The engineer/nerd in me drew up the design in AutoCAD in order to get exact coordinates to use when placing the nails in the ground. The nails were probably enough for me to visualize the curvature of the bed but the twine wrapped around and between each nail takes the guesswork out of it. I then mowed down the grass/weeds that fell within the newly marked off area and sprayed it with RoundUp. The grass should be dead/browned in 7-10 days, at which time I can rake it all up. In the meantime, Teresa and I are going to steal some ideas from our many neighbors whose beds are already planted. I'm also planning to have approximately 12 cubic yards of topsoil and 6 cubic yards of mulch delivered next Friday. Still have to work out the details around getting the shrubs, trees, etc.

May 27, 2008

Cleveland Marathon Pictures

Making sure I didn't forget anything Lined up and ready to run Just past mile 11 - overcast and rainy
Feeling cruddy but looking decent at the finishHappy to see the twins at the finish


May 20, 2008

2008 Cleveland Marathon

Woke up Sunday morning at 3:00, then again at 4:00 with my alarm. Showered, gathered all my gear and was out the door by 5:00 to catch a 5:15 carpool to the race start. Part of what woke me up throughout the night was the constant rainfall outside the window. I kept thinking that it's better now than in a few hours. After parking in a nearby lot, we headed to The Galleria for shelter as the rain was showing no sign of letting up. I can think of a handful of changes I'd like to see on the marathon course, but the start location is definitely not one of them. For those that know about it, and it seemed like plenty of people did, The Galleria is a blessing. Having somewhere to stay dry and warm with plenty of room to stretch, relax or even run laps (the second floor) is a great thing. With about 15 minutes to spare, I ditched my sweats, threw a garbage bag over my head (still amazed I remembered to pack one) and headed to the start line. Once there, I warmed up a little with some 50 meter strides, made sure my watch was in chrono mode and surveyed the field, taking note of the local running talent. Still raining, the horn sounded and we were off.

Mile 1 (6:06) was either short or I went out way too fast. I know 6-minute pace and it felt way too easy for that so I assumed it was short and kept the pace steady. The rain was steady as well. Passed through mile 2 in 6:18, which seemed right given the downhill section on E. 9th heading towards the Rock Hall. The climb up W. 3rd came in mile 3 and I was fortunate enough to fall in behind one of the most consistent sub-3 marathoners I know of, Steve Godale. He backed the pace way off and I made sure to hold back as well (mile 3 - 6:50). For the next 4 miles I paced off him and another guy and averaged 6:33's, each mile within a few seconds of each other. Mile 7 may have been slightly faster than the rest as I was anticipating seeing my family and friends for the first time. Took my first gel at the mile 7 water stop (Vanilla PowerBar). It was there that I lost Godale, but this was a good thing as he went on to run a 2:49. The rain had let up a little by mile 6 but was coming down again at mile 11 or so. I was well ahead of sub-3 pace at this point but wasn't feeling too confident. Someting about the weather and the occasional headwinds caused my mood to be off. Plus, as usual, I found myself in no-mans-land, having no one to pace with and/or keep me going. This is where the mental toughness built up during long training runs comes into play. If I was lacking one thing heading into this race, it was this.

My half-marathon split was 1:27:08 (2:54 pace). I mentioned a handful of changes I'd like to see on the marathon course and the stretch down Chester Ave. is one of them. The half marathoner's peeled off at mile 12, leaving a very desolate field. Not too spoil the ending of this entry, but placing in the top 50 in a race as small as Cleveland means a lot of running solo. Running alone in the rain down what was essentially an abandoned street got to me a little and caused for a slow miles 14 and 15 (6:58 and 7:09). Teresa was waiting for me at mile 16 with the babies, which was enough of a pick-me-up to get me back on pace (mile 16 - 6:39). My plan to clock a few fast miles leading up to mile 20 didn't exactly play out but I managed to average 6:53 over miles 17-20 and was still on 2:56 pace heading into the final 10K.

In the back of my head, I didn't feel I was prepared to run a sub-3 marathon. I just kept thinking to myself, there's no way 25-30 miles per week over the previous 4 months would cut it. My fast start allowed for a few slower miles on the back half, but I couldn't afford any more than one or two miles over 7:10-7:15. Mile 21, 7:27. I knew then to refocus on finishing consistently and as strong as possible. My focus showed up in the form of my good buddy Lou who helped pace me through to the finish. Lou kept me upbeat and helped supress the negative thoughts that wanted so desparately to do me in. Given how I was feeling at the time, I'm surprised to see that I averaged 7:47's from mile 22-26. Even managed consecutively faster miles 24-26. In hindsight, this was a small victory. So too was the finishing kick I laid down the last 385 yards (0.2 miles for those keeping score at home). Official time: 3:02:22, good enough for a top 50 finish at Cleveland for the 2nd consecutive year.

I'm very grateful for my family and friends who came out to support me. Teresa especially as she made it to three spots on the course (not easy with twins in tow). The finish line of a marathon is one of my favorite places in the world. Finally being able to hug and kiss and talk to everyone makes it all worthwhile. This year was especially amazing as my twin baby boys were there to greet me. Caden was awake and smiling at the sight of me. Cole must not be a big fan of distance running as he was passed out. I can't wait until they're big enough to cross a finish line with me!

May 12, 2008

Chomping at the Bit

Six days until race day. I learned back in 2004 that consuming oneself with a race too far in advance can lead to burnout/letdown. Not that I have time to be consumed with anything other than all things baby related, I've made a concsious effort not to look at the marathon web page or check the weather forecast until just recently. Logging on to clevelandmarathon.com I discovered a change to the course that's major in that 3 miles are affected (10-12), but minor in that it does not dramatically affect the elevation. I was hoping they yanked the climb up W. 3rd between mile 23 and 24. No such luck.

May 9, 2008

Patience

A good week of taper runs. 5 miles at pace on Thursday, 4 miles of treadmill hills this morning. Plan to run an easy 8 on Sunday and then wrap it all up with some 400 meter intervals on Tuesday followed by an easy 3-4 miles on Wednesday.

I've got a gameplan for the marathon. No idea what the weather is going to be like on race morning. It's been pretty rainy of late. If not rainy, overcast and dreary. I'll take dreary so long as the temps and winds are mild at the start.

Some new pics of the twins are below! Can't say enough about these little guys! They're amazing in every way!

Cole - May 1st

Caden - May 1st

May 5, 2008

Ready or not, it's taper time

Monday morning - 13 more mornings until race day. It's taper time and I'm comfortable with the training I've put in. I've got a gameplan for the marathon and will spend a lot of time visualizing how I expect it to play out (the final 10 miles more so than the first 16). For instance, there's a nice 3-4 mile gradual downhill just after mile 16 that I used to back off the pace a little last year when I'm thinking I should have done the opposite. This year I'll use that bit to stretch out my legs and bank a few seconds. Can't say I had a bad race last year but there's always room for improvement.

I squeezed in two great workouts over the weekend. Saturday night after the babies were asleep and Teresa was home from work, I did 8x800 meters (the culmination of the Yasso 800 buildup) with each 800 < 2:55. Send-offs ended up being closer to 4:00 because I was running from one end of my development to the other which, surprisingly, is pretty darn close to 800 meters on the nose. Final 800 in 2:49.

My long run this morning wasn't quite as long as I was hoping. I started 15 minutes late and had to take a couple pit stops (hope that issue resolves itself in the next two weeks!). In all, I did 17 miles at 7:25 pace with a 6:36 final mile. Strangely enough, my final mile felt as easy, if not easier, than the rest and it was then that I felt "warmed up". I wonder if holding back from my natural pace is causing me to work harder. Hmm, something else to ponder over the next 13 days.

I think my 3-year old iPod shuffle played it's last tune this morning... hopefully it's just the headphones.

May 1, 2008

38%

This morning I ran 10 miles at what I'm guessing will be my planned marathon pace (PMP) and although it was relatively easy, I started to feel the slight discomfort that eventually turns into a pain that makes me want to quit running and/or question why I ever started running in the first place. I fear the marathon distance more than I lead on, which is a good thing. I learned my lesson the hard way 5 years ago when I set out at a pace I had no business attempting. I'm afraid I'm going to do the same at Cleveland, which is why I'm desperate to gauge my level of fitness. I've got 3-4 more opportunities to do just that in the next 5-6 days before taper time. I'm thinking 18-20 miles at PMP +60-75 sec, 8 x 800 meters (2:55 800's, 3:00 send-offs) and possibly some treadmill hills. I probably wouldn't be worrying so much if all I wanted to do was have fun out on the course. I just can't shake the competitive bug.

Apr 29, 2008

3, 2, 1... Failure to Launch

With less than 3 weeks until the Cleveland Marathon, I'm feeling the need to work in some high-intensity workouts so as to gauge my overall level of fitness. I need a measuring stick in order to plan my race day strategy. Last year, I used a half marathon 2 weeks before Cleveland as a gauge and I may have the opportunity to do the same this year, dependent on the weather on Saturday. Just in case, I planned a full 3-2-1 run this morning, which works out to 12 miles total, 6 of them done at 6 min/mile pace (3 slow, 3 fast, 2 slow, 2 fast, 1 slow, 1 fast). I was nervous and actually carb loaded last night thinking that might help. I also brought along a vanilla Power Gel.

The heart of the workout is without question the first 3 miles done at 6 minute pace following an easy 3 mile warm-up. I hit all 3 miles in 5:59 but felt completely drained afterward. I walked for a few minutes feeling slightly dizzy and nauseous. I slowly took down the gel with water and eventually started running again. By the end of my 8th mile I was feeling slightly better but had a side stitch that wouldn't go away. I started into a fast miles 9 and 10 and bailed about half way through, succumbing to the side stitch. I normally would fight through something like this, but not during a Tuesday morning traning run. I was happy to have done what worked out to an intense 9-mile tempo run. Plus I had a few extra minutes to strength train.

Apr 23, 2008

Step 2: Reserve Hotel

The gears are in motion for my return to Boston in 2009. Today I sent out a deposit for a room at the Marriott Copley, which is 0.15 miles from the finish area and within walking distance to both Copley Square (bus loading) and Hynes Convention Center (Expo). As of today, I will use my 3:01 from Akron this past fall as my qualifier, which should land me a good starting chute ahead of the traffic jam that starts to build at chutes 4-5. I'll aim to better my Boston PR of 3:05 back in 2006. It's such a tough course but I've analyzed a number of strategies employed by recent sub-3-hour Boston finishers and think I have it down to a science.

Congratulations to everyone who ran this past Monday!

Apr 14, 2008

22 Long and Slow Ones

Having twin newborns turn into twin infants with the thought of twin toddlers has done a number on my mental state when it comes to running. I ran 22 miles yesterday not even thinking about the distance. I was conscious of the time but the miles flew by and I took no notice of any discomfort. Helping keep my mind occupied was the company I ran with, three others (all parents) who were happy to listen to my stories and share their experiences in return. Runnnig took a backseat to the conversations at hand. It was as if we were in a coffee shop chatting away for hours, except we weren't in a coffee shop. We were running 8 minute 30 second miles in a light, yet comfortable rain. Ultimately what this means is that my training runs will be a lot less mentally gruelling. I'm curious as to how marathon day will play out from a mental standpoint. The thought of seeing Teresa and the boys on the course may bring me to a new level of comfort that I've yet to experience.

With faces like these, who wouldn't be inspired?

Apr 9, 2008

Talkin' Tempo

I stole a tempo workout from Runner's World in an effort to add a little spice to the monotony of running around an indoor track. This one called for 9-minutes easy x 1-minute hard, 8x2, 7x3, 8x2, and 9x1, for a total of 50-minutes. Turned out to be a pretty good workout, probably 7 miles total with 1.5 done at sub 6-minute pace.

I ran for the first time in my new Saucony Grid Fastwitch 3's that I picked up over the weekend along with a pair of triathlon specific shoes from Zoot.

Apr 7, 2008

The Bottles Are Ready

I couldn't pass on taking this picture...

The bottles are ready

Apr 2, 2008

Hump Day

I woke up at 3:30 this morning, not to cries of hunger from one of the babies, but to complete silence. It took me a minute to realize that yes, I was actually awake and no, I was not in a time warp. Some quick math and I realized the babies had been asleep for 7.5 hours! Caden woke up shortly thereafter followed a minute or two later by Cole (you'd think they were twins or something ; ). My workout this morning consisted of two warmup miles at 7:30 pace, one mile at 5:55, two miles at 7:30 and a final 5:51 mile. I should be getting my new shoes soon. Saucony Grid Fastwitch 3. I loved the 1's and the 2's, and am dying to get my hands on the latest and greatest.

Mar 31, 2008

Make It Right

Teresa has decided to walk the Towpath Half-Marathon on October 12th in support of the Make It Right Project. She hopes to raise awareness and is asking for the financial support of our friends and family. Unlike most marathon fundraisers, there's really no way for her to track how much money she's raised nor is she required to raise a minimum amount of money. This is simply a case of her wanting to help a cause that's close to her heart in whatever way she can, all the while getting in shape. In short, the MIR Project will build 150 houses in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Katrina. To date, 81 of 150 homes have been sponsored/built. Click on the link below to be directed to the Project's web page and learn more about the cause and how you can help.

http://www.makeitrightnola.org/

I'm going to head up her cheering section on that day, which is also her birthday. If you're in the Cleveland area on that day, come out and celebrate with us!

Mar 17, 2008

5 Months Old

I gladly took St. Patrick's Day off of work to watch the boys while Teresa went to the parade with her friends. I've been telling her for months that she needs to get out and do a few things that don't involve burpies, binkies or bouncies! Before she took off for the day, I hit the gym for a swim/run brick. Swam about 750 yards, mostly laps with a few drills worked in. Ran 4 miles at roughly 6:43 pace and then did about 30 minutes of strength training. It always surprises me how odd it feels to run after having been in the pool!


Yesterday while trying to kill some time and keep the twinfants occupied, I strapped them in our jogging stroller and did some laps around the house. They really seem to like it and would start fussing every time I stopped, even if just for a moment to make sure they were doing OK. I told them all about how I came to run my first marathon. It's nice having an audience who isn't bored with my running stories : )

Feb 25, 2008

Little Men

Caden and Cole are thriving, which I now understand is an actual medical term. When a child is consistently underweight or who does not gain weight for unclear reasons, he/she is considered to have "failure to thrive". And here I thought our doctor was dishin' some slang when describing their development!

Caden

Cole

Feb 8, 2008

The Last Battle

I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia books to the boys every night before bed and came upon a great passage at the end of the seventh and final book 'The Last Battle'. At that point in the book, after the last battle, the characters were instructed by Aslan (the almighty Lion) to "Come further up, come further in!" to a new world they have just found themselves in. The group begins to run...

"The air flew in their faces as if they were driving fast in a car without a windscreen. The country flew past as if they were seeing it from the windows of an express train. Faster and faster they raced, but no one got hot or tired or out of breath. If one cold run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do anything else."

Having read all of the Narnia books, I know this passage speaks directly to a tireless devotion to a faith-based life, which I think is a great analogy (especially for children who read the stories). However, I can't help but pull from it what every longtime runner has already experienced and what new runners strive for, that moment when running is no longer a struggle and you actually feel like you could run forever and do nothing else with your life.

It's important to maintain perspective as a runner. I didn't start out as a sub-3 hour marathoner, nor will I remain one. I know where I came from and where I've been and can fully appreciate each in the same way I will continue to appreciate the endless possibilities of a lifelong runner.

Jan 21, 2008

New Pics

Took these pictures yesterday for a scrapbook I'm keeping showing the boys growth from month to month. They're getting pudgy and have Teresa's hair line (thank the lord!). I was holding them upright in my lap allowing them practice holding their head up. They seem to like the "strength" training!

Caden

Cole

Jan 14, 2008

Another Year Older

Well, my 31st birthday quietly came and went (as I like it) and I feel as youthful as ever. Last year I intended on running a marathon on my 30th birthday but the weather was brutal and I got out of work late anyway. This year I simply went to the gym in the morning for a quick 3-miler and some strength training. A new year hasn't broken me of my bad habit of pushing myself each and every run. I start off with the intention of running an "easy" 3-miles and end up running at near 5k pace. Oh well, there could be worse problems to have.

Had a great 8-mile run on Sunday. Again, thought to myself prior to starting that I'd go at it easy, but hit my first mile in 6:38 so I figured what the hell... I'll make this a tempo run. Mile 2 - 6:19, 3 - 6:22, 4 - 6:32, 5 - 6:57, 6 - 6:28, 7 - 7:00, 8 - 5:57. Was a little too tired afterwards to do much weights so I settled on about 30-minutes of core work.

Congratulations to those who ran in either the full or half marathon of yesterdays P.F. Chang's Rock-n-Roll Arizona. Frank and Kelly did great as did my TNT crew!

Jan 6, 2008

First of '08

Haven't been blogging much of late but am happy to report that life in the '08 is going well. Twins are lively as ever, gaining weight and achieving milestones that make Teresa and I proud as parents. Sleep's been pretty much non-existent of late, especially for Teresa. She somehow manages the energy to remain herself throughout the day, singing, laughing and being an awesome mother to our little men.

I did a 7-mile tempo run this afternoon and was very pleased with my splits. I shouldn't be so surprised but that's what a few months of next-to-no traininig will do. Anyway, did one of my favorite tempo runs with the following times: Mile 1: 7:06, Mile 2: 6:53, Mile 3: 6:00, Mile 4: 5:53, Mile 5: 7:51, Mile 6: 5:59, Mile 6-6.5: 4:15, Mile 6.5-7: 2:52

The earlybird registration deadline for Cleveland is this Thursday. Committing to a marathon (atleast financially) is one of the biggest motivators for me. I know finding time for my long runs will be a challenge in the coming months. I'm all about challenges though!