Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Marathon as Experiment

ORN:  3.1 miles, R5/W1

Another marathon is near.  The Illinois Marathon goes off at 7:30am Central Saturday and I'm looking forward to it.  I suppose I will be a "legacy runner" in this event, since I've run each of them.  Of course, this is only the second year, so let's not get carried away.   The taper has gone well...I've run well, shortening the distance and picking up the tempo over the past three weeks.  

The race affords me a chance to try something that has been bugging me ever since I finished the Portland Marathon last October and then talked with Jeff Galloway in the finishing area.  And Saturday I get to try it.  An extreme run/walk ratio, with an eye to real enjoyment of the experience.  

I am going to do a 1/1 run/walk Saturday.  Run one minute, walk one minute.  From the start.  And finish under 5 hours, feeling good.  Using my pace calculator, this works out to 11:37 miles.   More importantly, in the run segments, I'll run at a 9:10/mile pace.  Can this work??  And, importantly, how do I feel at the end?  

I'm hoping to finish at a steady run.  Last year, I ran the last mile of this race.  Can I run the last two this year?  Dare I hope for the last three??

We'll see.

Weather could be dicey...scattered thundershowers, windy, humid, 60F at the start, mid 70s when we end.  Such is springtime in the Midwest. 

Full report coming on this experiment.  Here you see the objective... how will it turn out??  



Sunday, April 18, 2010

Big-Race Goodie Bags Lead to Fun Pix

ORN (Sat): 14.0 miles, R3/W1, 2:24:26, 10:19/mile

After my truncated "long" run last week, I hoped to have a more positive long-ish run yesterday, 2 weeks ahead of the Illinois Marathon. I walked out the door committed to 12 miles, hoping though to do 14 if the strained upper right calf cooperated.

On a perfect, sun-swept, cool spring morning, it was fabulous to simply be out. Since the plan is to run a 1/1 run/walk in the marathon, I wanted to run a 3/1 for training, while keeping the same run pace I intend to use on race day, 9:12/mile.

It worked. The pace felt fine. Better was the news about the right calf. Around mile 4, it mentioned to me "Hey, I'm still here!" But, it never got louder. Just a bit of a minor whine from the back seat which never got worse. This could be the story on race day... it was good to experience and know it is manageable.

But, I digress.

When John and I ran the Honda Los Angeles Marathon four weeks ago, we got, as usual, a full goodie bag at registration. It had the usual mishmash of local race notices, pain relievers, restaurant deals and odd nutritional drinks. Most funny, though, was a complimentary Sweatband emblazoned with the 2010 US Census logo. I guess the tax dollars were worth it for the publicity, but it seemed odd to John and me.

I did have the idea it would make a fun gift for my twin, six-year old grandsons, so John happily donated his to the cause. I gave it to the boys last week and they gladly posed for grandpa to take a photo.

Then, as two kindergarten boys are wont to do, Drew looped behind Nathan and they began to wrestle, leading to this epic image.

Which then raises the Census Question of the Day; Just how do they count two-headed boys?

I guess if you are a Census worker, you just shrug your shoulders and persevere.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Taper by feel, not by book

ORN:  (Saturday) 11 miles, R2/W1, 11:20/mile

Three weeks from yesterday, I line up for the Illinois Marathon.  That means I should have done my last long run yesterday.  

My taper for the LA Marathon was really messed up by a 24 miler three weeks pre-race on a very slick, snowy surface.  I had decided to not go so long this time, aiming for a "mere" 17 miles this weekend and then keep active until race day.  

However, about 8 miles into the planned 17 yesterday, the strain in my upper right calf (which has been steadily resolving since the LA race) acted up. It got tight and was affecting my gait. I was approaching a "T" in my running route, where I had to decide to either head back home for only 11 or keep on grinding it out to try to get the 17.  I decided to head home, in hopes of staying healthy, keeping the miles up through the taper and seeing what happens.  I knew from the LA prep what happens when I grind it out and then can't run for 2-3 weeks.  

So 11 miles it is, three weeks out.  May try again to do 12-14 next Saturday.  In either event, we'll learn more about tapering, won't we?  

Persevere.  That's always the right thing to do.



Saturday, April 03, 2010

1979 was a long time ago

ORN: 12.4 miles, 2/1, felt good

It had to be 1979, it just had to be. We were living in Lesotho, a tiny country in southern Africa. My mother did us a huge treat two or three times that year, long before Al Gore had invented the Internet. She subscribed to Sports Illustrated, kept all the copies and would then ship a stack to us in a box via sea mail. Nevermind the lateness of the news…we lived in such a remote spot, it was marvelous to read even old stories about familiar sports.

And one new sport. I still remember reading a feature article in one issue about the then nascent sport of triathlon. It described the amazing tenacity of the early winners, their pain tolerance, their training regimens, their just plain toughness in the original Hawaii race. And weirdness. In particular, I remembered one quote by one guy to the effect that he didn’t like races because they got in the way of his training.

I recall marveling at that statement at the time. I could not remotely begin to understand his viewpoint.

Recently, I recalled that comment, understanding it much better. (I actually wrote about this in 2006, here) It hit me when I looked at my running mileage in March…a mere 41 miles. Forty-one miles?? In a month that contained a marathon?? Yep…forty-one. My lowest month in two years. The race got in the way of my training.

So, on my enjoyable 12 mile run this morning, I wondered…did I really remember that quote correctly? Did someone really say that? Might I find the article somewhere, some archive copy of old, pre-digital articles?? Amazingly there was a site. And, I found the article, from the May 14, 1979 issue.

Two pages in…pay dirt. Describing the winner of the event, that year conducted in January of 1979, the author quoted legendary Tom Warren as follows:

He says…the bad feature of racing is that it interrupts his training routine. “I could never associate racing with pain,” he says. “It’s like going to school. You have to take exams to find where you stand.”

Why, oh why, do I remember details like this when I can’t remember which side of the plate the fork goes on?? Probably because it is related to sports. Oh my.

Happy Easter, everyone. Persevere.