CIM Training Update: Camp Fire Puts Race in Jeopardy

Just a quick update on my journey to complete my first marathon with my special needs and IRun4 buddy Liam in Sacramento at the California International Marathon. With plenty of family in California, I've kept a casual eye on the fires in California and my heart goes out for those that have perished or suffered loss of life or loved ones. A "silly" race seems insignificant as it should compared to the devastation happening.

It wasn't until yesterday that between texts from Liam's mom, and my wife giving me a geography lesson that I realized Sacramento is in the epicenter of activity and if the race were this weekend, either race promoters would cancel or we'd have to pull out of the race. With even moderate pollutants in the air, Liam's lungs could not handle it. With complications associated with his Cerebral Palsy and severe scoliosis, he doesn't have the "lungs of a 20 yr old" that my allergist marveled at with my recent lung spirometer test (true story...and I'm not 20.)
(Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite putting the somewhat insignificance of a race in perspective compared to the tragedy, it's hard not to feel a bit of concern or pending disappointment if the race does not happen. Before you "trash" my feelings, my concern is not Ty (I just pulled a Costanza) misses a race. I had friends miss the New York City Marathon the year of Hurricane Sandy and I postposed New York myself with a stress fracture diagnosed a few weeks before the race--but I was able to get there the following year. Marathon runners are typically used to setbacks and disappointments, but it doesn't make them easy to digest.

For Liam it's a different story. Short of being melodramatic, marathons are far more complex to plan for with Liam. Joan and Fabian (Liam's parents) are officially hooked like many other runners that get their first taste of a 5k or Sprint triathlon. It's totally a "Lay's potato chip" phenomena--you can't eat just one. They race all the time now locally; in fact lately Liam races more than I do (and they're racing this weekend.)

Marathons and even more so, destination marathons are a completely different animal. Liam does travel quite a bit and his mom credits his venturing into the run world for opening him up to ALL the world has to offer; he's gone fly-fishing, indoor sky-diving, and trail climbing. Much credit goes to his amazing parents. Traveling requires much planning for the parents with all the medical gear required, and making sure his body is healthy enough to get on a plane.

As most runners realize, you can "coach to 5k" pretty quickly, but it's not recommended to spontaneously "drop" into a marathon. Most training plans involve sixteen weeks of getting ready for the race. As I've written here, I'd all but given up on the marathon distance due to Dr's orders around my knees, but I've tasted the fountain of youth (perhaps that miracle water from Lisbon this Fall?) and my body has held up great with training (more on that below.)
I've included a lot of bike and swim miles during my training for Sacramento

My point of all this is if Sacramento doesn't happen, we're months away from hitting the reset button on another "Plan B" race. Liam's health is good for the most part, but this is a kid who's never walked, has had over 100 brain surgeries, and when I first met him, he went to the hospital with the same regularity that other kids went to the mall.

Liam just turned twenty and I hope to far outlive him (and my own kids,) but I don't know how many opportunities we will have to run marathons. My body and how many marathons I have left in me are certainly a factor. As I wrote earlier this year, I had three goals with Liam; race a marathon together, run the Boston Marathon together, and tackle a half Ironman. I'm hoping to cross one of those off the list in December.

Now as promised, a training update! Must have been that Lisbon water or more likely being motivated by Liam, this has been probably my best marathon training since my 2013 Boston Marathon (the bombing year.) As I've written here, my plan has been a combination of a Furman First plan combined with workouts from my previous run coach Benita Willis. The later involves workouts that include a lot of fast and faster progressive runs and some long runs also at goal and progressive mile paces.
"Fountain of Youth" water my wife and I  drank in Sintra near Lisbon this Fall

My best long training run in (literally) years was last weekend. My "last" twenty mile training run. I warmed up at a nine minute per mile pace for seven miles then had four sets of progressive miles at; three miles at 8:12 pace, three miles at 8:05 pace, two miles at 8:00 pace, and last two "goal-paced" miles at 7:53 pace. Cooldown miles were at 8:40, 8:30, and 9:00 minute mile paces.

At week fourteen, I have logged 649 miles training for CIM only running three days a week with bike, eliptical, and swim miles the other three days a week typically taking one rest day a week. With Benita, the "run whisperer" and Bart Yasso influencing many of my speed workouts, I've done fourteen weeks of Tuesday (sometimes Wednesday) "Yassos" (half mile intervals) with some Furman First "change-ups" including 12 x 400's, and 6 x 1200's. Yesterday I had simply a four mile run, but "slipped in" half mile progressives starting at a 7:24 pace ramping up to a 7:08 pace. Nothing special, but I felt fantastic and it seemed effortless.

Soooo....I know how to run short and fast, but can the smoke dissipate and can I string together 26.2 miles pushing another 130ish pounds two weeks from Sunday. Let's hope so.


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