Saturday, November 23, 2013

Speed Kills

The handful of runs I've done since the marathon have been short and fast. I was surprised at how zippy my legs felt. In fact it was hard to hold back the pace. Maybe its knowing that I'm not going to be running for 2-3 hours that provides the incentive to push harder.

I'm also tracking my pace and stats with a GPS watch now, the Garmin Forerunner 10. I had been using my phone, but it was impractical for certain runs. After reading some reviews on what they can do coupled with the unexpected bestowal of a gift card and a 20% off storewide sale at Fleet Feet, I took the plunge. What is normally a $130 watch ended up costing me less than half that. So far I love it. I can tell my pace at any point during the run, total distance run, time each mile, all without a giant smartphone clumsily lashed to my arm. And I can upload all this information and get even more detail, including elevation change and automatic compilation of weekly totals.

After these initial runs, the 1:30 goal for this upcoming half marathon is probably a little too lofty. Realistically, I'm going to shoot for under 1:40, roughly 7:30 miles. This is pushing it, but doable in the limited amount of time I have before the race. Depending on how the intervals and strength training go, I hope to whittle that goal down some.

I did 5.5 miles today at a 7:33 pace. I plan to go up to 6 miles next week, then increase a mile a week until 2 weeks before the race. Weekly intervals, increasing distance, weekly strength work-lunges, squats, using the stairs at work, running the Talmadge Bridge. Also 1-2 maintenance runs during the week, usually 2-4.5 miles.

Sticking with the diet of fat and protein, crack carbs almost exclusively while running. I've bottomed out my weight it seems at 145 lbs. My body fat% is still coming down some, currently 11%. Hopefully this means I am building some muscle mass, because my total weight hasn't changed for well over a month.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Savannah Rock N Roll Marathon Race Report

Final time 3:52

Goal accomplished. Beside the fact that it hurts pretty bad, it feels good. Some real progress toward Boston. Here's my rosy retrospective:

Woke up at 5:00. Ate a large bowl of oatmeal. Moved bowels. Rejoiced.
Arrived at starting line around 6:30.
Waited in line for bathroom until about 7:15.
The race started at 7:00. Fortunately it is timed by chip. I was supposed to be in corral 8, ended up starting with corral 10, I think. There were somewhere around 17000 runners I hear. This makes for a very long, drawn out start.
It was a cold morning, so I used arm sleeves for the first time, kept my arms toasty.
The first 10 miles were very frustrating. Due to the large number of entrants and the fact that I went out with a slower corral, I was pushing through crowds this whole time. I had intended on running 9 minute miles and speeding up progressively. I found out I was doing about 8 minute miles, probably because of adrenaline and frustration with the crowds. (Specifically large groups of old ladies running side by side blocking the ENTIRE street.)
When the half marathon runners split off to head toward the finish line around mile 10, things lightened up.
One mistake I made in this race was eating and drinking too much. I blame this on training in the heat all summer. I was used to drinking almost 3 liters every 10 miles! I tried to adjust for the weather difference, but apparently it wasn't enough because I got some "sloshin" and even some short lived side aches early on. I started skipping aid stations and things improved somewhat. Things were going remarkably well for about 20 miles, and I was on pace to go under 3:45, unbeknownst to me at the time. At mile 20, however, the wheels started to come off as it were. Cramps. Again. Dangit. Whereas 2 years ago my quads cramped, this go around it was exclusively in my calves and stomach. I ran through most of the calf cramps, but the stomach cramps affected my breathing so much that I could not take a breath. I started to walk and tried to devise a way to salvage the race. I started to take obnoxiously deep breaths, gulps really. My breathing had become progressively shallow, so this logically made sense to try and it worked. Stomach cramps ended, calf cramps continued on and off, forcing me to walk sections. This was disheartening to say the least. I was sure my goal of sub 4 hours was lost. With 2 miles left, I was passed by the 3:55 pacer! That was enough to wake me up from my funk and adrenaline squirt to the finish, including a "sprint" the last 100+ yards.
I was greeted by the hawk-like shrieks of legendary butt-rockers Jackyl, who headlined the event.
Celebration ensued with the fam, and we made way to the pre-determined "Green Truck" hipster burger restaurant, including grass-fed beef & homemade ketchup. I was a little worried to grease up an already unstable bowel situation, but the levee held until arrival at home.
As before, the race organization was great, bands along the way were actually pretty good. The expo was busy but not ludicrous this time. I would recommend RnR series to anyone, assuming the other events are similar.
Already I have schemed new plans for the next race. The Tybee half marathon in February, where I will try to beat my PR. Really I have in my mind shooting for 1:30, a lofty goal on par with the pace I will need to qualify for Boston. I plan to focus heavily on intervals and speedwork.