Monday, April 23, 2012

Dilemma Monday

Do you ever have someone say something to you or ask you something where you have a delayed reaction and wished you would have responded differently?

I'm two weeks away from my first marathon in two years and was excited to go out for what would be my last challenging long run last Saturday.  A short long run...a 13 miler.  Someone from my race group said, "hey, I read your last blog, I think you're crazy to be following the Furman (FIRST Marathon Training Plan.)  Considering the proximity to the race, it struck me as a bit odd to be questioning my training.  I posted the question to my DailyMile, "When should this advise be offered or should he have stuck to encouragement two weeks away from the race?"  I got some heated reactions. 
 
Some of the responses;

JGal: "definitely should not have brought that up, especially since you can't change a thing and have done great work on your own programme. i can so relate on a totally unrelated level... my phd advisor keeps doubting that i'll making the thesis deadline coming up in < 3 weeks. i'm like, how bout some positivity?! so just keep up your own work and prove him wrong. :)"

 Bonnie G: "People have bad timing with opinions a lot of the time. I would stick wit what you've been doing two weeks out. And as someone who has a training plan inspired by the first plan I don't agree with him. Go run your race Ty!"

 Matthew: "knock the race out of the park, then stick the training plan up his ass. That's probably what I would try and do at this point in time..."

Jess U. "Um... he should have stuck with encouraging you!!!


Julie:  "It think it's just an opinion. From what I hear it has worked well for many people. Not cool of him to voice his opinion so close to game time though."

 Eric: "He should have kept his opinion to himself, maybe bought it up after your race. At this point don't change anything, a plan is a plan. I use the FIRST and it helped me. Good luck with your race."

 Morey: "I thought you were crazy too- i just didn't say anything. ;) But- let the race results be the judge. High intensity-low mileage vs low intensity high mileage. Let's see what happens during the race- give it your all, and compare results."

 Dustin: "Clearly not a bright move by him."

 Mollie: "Seems very strange. At this point, the race itself will tell, no point in guessing. And I have had friends who have had lots of success with FIRST (heck, I have been running kind of a modified FIRST ever since I hurt myself, and I've gotten faster), so who knows? I bet you hit it out of the park."
 John T: "Encouragement is definitely the most important thing to hear two weeks out....but you are a highly proficient marathon runner and a comment like that shouldn't make much impact."
 Greg S.: "The FIRST training plan has helped many runners PR. I'll bet that guy has never tried it, so his opinion shouldn't count. You've done the training now kill that race."

The last two weeks of a plan (taper) are more about the mental preparation and of course diet and rest. Not sure this comment helps feed the mental preparation.  Have you had someone offer advice this close to a race, and how did you handle it?  Should this opinion have been offered or kept to themselves until after the race to either congratulate or say "I told you so!?" 

My response to the question was probably way too polite to the effect of, "we shall see," or it seems to work for me."  By the way...the name of the blog that he read was "Back to Seeking Boston Marathon" which talked about how NOT running Boston fueled my determination to get back there.  I proceeded to have a reallly crappy long run that day.  I rebounded nicely yesterday and today.  From here on out, I'll focus on Back to Seeking Boston Marathon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Back to Seeking Boston Marathon

I'm in a strange juxtaposition with all the stories still coming out of the wicked hot Boston Marathon.  I didn't run it and I'm in taper mode for my first Mary in over a year. I will be running the Colorado Marathon in two weeks and two days.  Yes...I'm in running purgatory. It's taper time.

I'm in awe of all the accounts of the courageous races put out by my running friends at Boston.  I can practically smell the new asphalt laid down on "heartbreak hill."  Sounds like you could actually fry an egg on that hill.  Runners younger and faster than me that hit the medic tent and had their first DNF.  One of them ran her first Boston.  Can you imagine finally getting there and not coming home with the medal?  No...you don't get one unless you finish. Painful in more ways than one, but even more respect.

I haven't heard of many PR's, but have heard about friends who helped "will" their fellow runners to complete including IRONMikeTRI who "sherpa'd" his friend through the entire race running at a pace much slower than he could have, but his partner may not have hit the turn onto Boylston street (the final 1/4 mile stretch of Boston) without him.  My friend DP Turtle "bonked" then barfed.  Neither are fun.

Luau shared beer and helped text as a spectator.
Will Run for Beer helped me understand that while I've run two mary's in similar heat, the difference was most people haven't trained the last four months in upper 80's heat unless you live on another continent.

I was scheduled to cross train on Patriot's Day with swimming in mind.  Screw that, I had to run so I moved Tuesday's speed work (eight Yasso 800's) to Monday.  Not my best day, but I ran with Boston in mind in more ways than one.  My goal at this stage of my run career (wouldn't that be great if that actually was my career?) is to qualify for Boston again.

I ran Boston last year for the second time. In two weeks and two days, my goal will be to notch another BQ.  I normally have 3-4 goals for a race.  The first which I learned from Hal Higdon's book is to merely complete the training plan--typically 500-600 miles over 16 weeks.  It's an accomplishment in and of itself, but there's no medal and no one cheering or congratulating you.  My other goals revolve around my finish times; what I'd be happy with and what my "stretch goal is."  Not quite ready to put those out there yet.

By the numbers, I will crest over 500 miles trained this weekend and I'm 95% through the plan as I literally plot it out in a spreadsheet.  As the weeks and miles pile up, I plot the actuals along with details (in cell notes) on how I felt, where I ran, heart rate, and pace.  This helps compare to similar plot points in previous training plans.

Unlike a lot of runners, I love the taper period--the 2-3 weeks at the end of training where you "taper" off the long runs and frequency of runs to rest the body for race day.  Having followed the Furman FIRST training plan literally "by the book" (Run Less, Run Faster,) it's still a fairly aggressive few weeks leading up to race day.

Last Saturday was a 20 miler at 15 seconds over marathon pace which I finished right where I should have at an average of a 7:50 mile pace.  The schedule this week had Yasso's and a mid tempo run at a 7:08 pace. Yes, that's Furman's idea of a taper.  I read the book, and plotted it in a chart, but I really didn't think about it until each week un-raveled.  While it only has three runs a week, they are all aggressive runs.

Timing could not have been better with Boston this week.  Not that I needed any more motivation, but NOT running it this year has filled me with determination to make a return engagement.  The next two weekends have ten and thirteen mile runs at marathon pace.  You call that a taper?  With 13 weeks into the plan, I'm not about to question it.  If week 14 instructed me to wrap bacon around my ankles and wear a purple thong, I would do it.

Back to my online friend, DP Turtle.  When I qualified and ran my first Boston Marathon, he asked me if I was going to change my blog name.  No.  You are (or at least I am) in a constant quest for the unicorn.  Seeking, Sought, and now back to Seeking Boston Marathon.  No pressure.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boston Baked Beans

Hot stuff, hot tamale, hot pants, hot shot, she's hot, hot as a half f__cked fox in a forest fire, Some Like it Hot, hot lips Houlihan, and forecast for Monday's Boston Marathon?  Hot.  What to do.  First off, as my blog's name indicates, I am back to "Seeking Boston Marathon" as my 3:30 in 2011 was good enough to BQ, but not fast enough to get in.  I'm racing in three weeks to try and exorcise that demon.

Running through the heat in Chinatown
But enough about me.  Today the BAA announced that it would be taking extra precautions and adding extra water along the race for some forecasted blistering heat.  In an unprecedented move (that's not true, they did the same the year of the Icelandic volcano eruption that prevented several european runners from getting to Beantown) the BAA has offered runners the option of defering their entry to 2013

As Napoleon Dynamite said, "what the heck would you do in a situation like that?!?" (referring to the attack by 50 wolverines.)  As tough as it is to get to Boston, this is a tough one.  Holy dilemma Batman!  This is also a very personal decision and don't listen to me (please defer to my PRE photo and blog disclaimer, that I'm not a Dr. or a coach, but I do play one on T.V.)  As light as I try to make my blog, running a marathon in that kind of heat is some serious shit...people have died from this as one did in Chicago in 2007.

I didn't run Chicago in 2007, but I did run it in 2008 which was equally hot.  Not always known for being smart, I was aware of 2007 and when I went out for a 2 mile jog the day before the race around 10 AM, it was already toasty.  I knew I was in for a hot one.  Definitely singlet weather.  What I remember about that race, is that I have never ingested so much liquid in a race.  I also continually doused myself in water later in the race.  Not the kind of wet t-shirt contest I had in mind.  As my wife cheered me on around mile 24, I sneered at her like Regan did to her mother in the Exorcist (was that the second exorcism reference in this blog...creepy.)  I came up two minutes short of a BQ on a stress fractured leg.

Source: AP

That story is not meant to depress those running on Monday, Chicago was one of my favorite and more memorable races including ripping my shorts before the race even started by hopping a fence into my corral.  I guess my point is, I took the precautions necessary and had a great race.  As the BAA officials are stating, it's probably not a PR day, but Boston is a monster that rarely offers a PR opportunity to begin with.  As my running club coach often reminds me, you train in all kinds of weather because you can't change the weather on race day.  Just see my waterboarding race report from Portland, where it rained heavily the ENTIRE race--that sucked, but it provided another BQ.

Which brings us back to deferral.  For me personally, I have run on a broken leg in a race so I'd strap on my Brooks and run it, but that's just me (consult disclaimer again.)  That window of opportunity does not come very often and you don't know what your calendar or health will bring to you a year from now.  Flu, injury, aunt Elyssa's wedding.  Too much left up to chance.  Watching from home, it's easy for me to say, I'd run and try to enjoy it (with a LOT of water) as I don't know what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm NOT the Ridiculously Photogenic Running Guy

So there's this random dude that went viral last week with his 10K race picture. It wasn't someone famous like Kanye West or Apolo Ohno running their first marathon....it was just some random dude. He was coined the "Ridiculously Photogenic Runner."  The random runner was Zeddle Little who was captured by an amateur photographer in the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K.
I've got just a few problems with this. Coming from a guy who has a face built for radio, I will never be labeled "photogenic." This guy is the Zac Efron of racing. Too pretty to be a guy or a runner.


The other problem I've got is that it looks like a commercial for feminine hygiene products (except that it's a guy.) "Look how happy I am doing something that most people look like crap doing." Let's face it...if you actually "race" in a 10K, you rarely flash a smile like this one.  If you're somewhere past 18 miles in a marathon, or after 30 seconds of a 5K or 10K, you look like you're giving birth.  It ain't normally pretty.


Most of my race pictures all look the same.  Not photogenic guy, but more like Cosmo Kramer when his face went numb in "The Jimmy" episode.  Kramer was the center of attention at the Mel Torme benefit with his marathon face. One of my favorite race pictures (or least favorite) was my first marathon in San Diego (somewhere past mile 18.) I was running with a slump (or hump) with the look of "why am I doing this?" and "how much further do I have to run?" Best part of the picture is the really old dude who looks worse than me, but is about to pass me. It's my anti "Ridiculously Photogenic Running Guy" picture.


While most of my race pictures look like I'm taking a crap, giving birth, or staring with my numb face at Mel Torme, I took one decent race picture.  My Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon race picture didn't go viral, but it was good enough to turn into my "SeekingBostonMarathon" logo.  It was my half mary PR with a time of 1:32. Take that Zac Efron!


I realize I'm starting to sound like the guy that couldn't get a date in high school...I'll save that for the therapy couch and I'll stop here.  Have a Ridiculously Photogenic race pic, or better yet, the anti-ridiculously photogenic race? Post them to my SeekingBostonMarathon facebook wall.  A SeekingBostonMarathon sticker is your reward for the best pics.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Twelve Days of Boston

For my friends running Boston in twelve days, this song is for you.  The "Twelve days of Boston," sung to the tune of the "Twelve Days of Christmas."  I plan to be singing it again in 2013.

On the first day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
A bib number in wave one.

On the second day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the third day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the fourth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the fifth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the sixth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the seventh day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
7:30 Tempos,
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.


On the eighth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Eight minute Slow runs,
7:30 Tempos,
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the ninth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Nine pills a popping,
Eight minute Slow runs,
7:30 Tempos,
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the tenth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Ten toes-a-throbbing,
Nine pills-a-popping,
Eight minute Slow runs,
7:30 Tempos,
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the eleventh day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
Eleven shoes a sizing,
Ten toes-a-throbbing
Nine pills-a-popping,
Eight minute Slow runs,
7:30 Tempos,
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

On the twelfth day of Boston, my true love gave to me...
12 Days of waiting,
Eleven shoes a sizing,
Ten toes-a-throbbing
Nine pills-a-popping,
Eight minute Slow runs,
7:30 Tempos,
Six minute Yassos,
Five injuries!
Four months of work,
Three taper weeks,
Two pairs of shoes,
and a bib number in wave one.

About Me

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine