Fountain of Youth: Sacramento CIM Marathon Training Update

Life has been busy. Sorry if you've missed my written words, but vacation, new job, travel, and training for my first marathon in two years (when I thought I'd retired from that distance) has kept this blogger busy.

What is this about "fountain of youth" you ask? Running and marathon training can be a fickle thing. Certainly science, training plans, diet, and rest all factor into how well you feel any given day or more importantly on race day. As I've written here, I am in fact training for my fifteenth marathon and FIRST with my special needs buddy Liam in Sacramento in December. Gulp!

I have been using a modified Furman FIRST training plan which fundamentally only runs three days a week with cross-training the other days. The modified part is that I'm using an approach with my run days that mimics my best marathon (Boston 2013) with principles and training sessions taught by my old run coach (and world-class athlete) Benita Willis. This approach implements fast and faster segments, progressive runs, and NOT showing up exhausted on race day.

Speaking of exhausted, I had probably my worst run of the training session two weeks ago when I finally ventured into my longest run of eighteen miles. Three problems; 1) business travel that week, 2) travel for a funeral to rural (I'm talking two stoplights) Wray, Colorado on the day of the run and 3) poor diet, not hydrated, and tired before I started.
Feeling as old and battered as this old farm house in Wray, Colorado

I "mapped out" a roughly five mile loop route around town crossing train tracks, past Grandpa Ray's (rest in peace) old ice business, an abandoned baseball field riddled with weeds, a hospital, and the high school where they presented the family with a jersey for Ray's 60 years of watching the Wray Eagles compete. One mile in, I knew I didn't have fuel in the tank and pondered cutting it short to perhaps eight miles. I decided (right or wrong) to go the full eighteen, but at a much slower (9:34 pace) without any goal-paced miles. This one sucked. Oh, by the way, I "threw out" my back putting my shoes on. My back, my feet, and both knees hurt before I started. Joy...

Now that you're depressed with the story...the good news. Great weekend last weekend going to Ft. Collins to celebrate Homecoming at my alma mater which included a stop at my old fraternity and learning a couple new beer drinking games on Saturday. Then came a shorter long run again on Sunday--this time a mere fifteen miles. With the ghost of coach Benita (she's not old by the way) whispering in my ear, I started with four nine minute per mile pace warm-up miles. I then went with three sets of three miles at an 8:41 pace, 8:20 pace and 8:06 pace. I'd like to run Sacramento at an 8:12 pace.

That was confidence builder number one.

Confidence builder number two was today's speed workout and the Yasso's I've been throwing into the mix the last month. My Yassos pace has (again, fast and faster approach) increased in speed over the last five weeks. Last week went from a 6:24 pace to a six minute per mile pace over eight repeats. Today called for mile repeats. which started at 7:19 and progressed to sub-seven minute per-mile pace. It felt fantastic as did most of my body.

In the next three weeks, I have two runs of 20+ miles with a shorter long run in between. Figuratively, I see the finish line in sight to the taper I always love to get to as the hard work has been done. At least today, I feel ten years younger running my mile repeats at the pace I cranked out.

Look out Sacramento...Liam and I are heading your way!


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