Ryan's Marathon Training Blog - Part Deux

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Week 15 update - Taper is near

DUDE... this week has been fricken' busy. OK, looking for some sympathy, as Ryan (a.k.a. supreme jackass) lost his wallet last week. I have been paying the price trying to restore my identity, preserve my credit and actually try to drive legally over the last couple of days.

So far, no luck. Long story, but let's just say that I still have no driver's license, since I have no social security card (which was lost years ago). Any of you find a wallet with a Connecticut license and a fully loaded Starbuck's gift card - I trust you'll let me know??

I have 26.5 miles WTD. I have a recovery in the morning. Then our final 20-miler of the program on Saturday. Here is this week's progress:

Mon 9/25 - 8 miles - It was very cold and I moved pretty quickly - quicker than planned. Avg pace was 7:37 for the 8. Total time: 1:00:59. Avg HR: 141. Not bad.

Tue 9/26 - About 9 miles in 2 runs - AM: Recovery 3.25 miles - PM: Speed work at the track - 400m repeats - KILLER! Jim and I did 400ms in an avg of 1:23-1:24 per lap. We took about 45-60 sec's rest btw each. We did TWELVE OF THESE MO'FO's. These kicked my arse more so than the Yassos. But they are over fast.

Wed 9/27 - REST - Jamie Cullum concert in Lincoln Park - kick ass contempary jazz man - home late

Thu 9/28 - Plan was to do 10. Ended up cutting slightly short due to time pressures. Did 9.5 miles. Average was about 8:00 flat per mile.

I'm on track for 52 miles this week.

Tomorrow, I have the day off from work. Cool. But it will a busy weekend. Jen is at the airport right now picking up Kim and Mike, friends of ours from Pittsburgh, who will visit us this weekend. Cubs game tomorrow - then bracing for a 20-miler Sat AM - then back downtown for dinner and Blue Man Group!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

14 Weeks Down / T-Minus 28 days

On Friday, I did my second speed workout of the week. Tuesday's Yassos had me pumped up and Pfitz called for a "tune-up race". So I did my own simulated race and wanted to run aroun 7 min pace for six miles. That's hard to do by yourself, I learned, in training conditions. It was somewhat painful. I did my 1st mile at 7:56 and the next 6 at an avg of 7:04 pace. I cooled down with a easy 2 for a total of 9.

On Friday evening, we headed to Philly for my friend Steve's wedding. Of course, we were greeted with a significant delay at Midway. Not to mention that I lost my wallet early in the morning and was unable to find it. And I cancelled my credit card to be safe. Only to find out that rental car places don't accept debit cards. And we got lost on the way to the hotel. In a nutshell, Friday night blew.

I still managed to get up for some running on Sat AM in the town of Malvern, PA. Conditions were moist and humid. Saturday's run was probably my least impressive long run in the program. In fact, I struggle to even call it a long run since I stepped way back to 13.

Even my total mileage is a complete guess since Garmin was having satellite challenges and I assumed about a 8 min pace. Total time was 1:45:06. I just couldn't get my groove and didn't "feel" strong. Plus the surroundings sucked for running. I ran mile upon monotonous mile around corporate parkways near the hotel. There were no sidewalks nearby and the roads were very busy and dangerous.

Pfitz called for 17 this week but I didn't have it in me. I was on my own in a foreign area with more hills than I would like. Plus we got into the hotel around 1:30 AM the night before. Two speed workouts earlier (one the day before) in the week had caught up with me. However, since I went OVER my long run by 3 miles last week to 20, I don't have any guilt. I was tired and it was humid.

Despite being in the middle of his wedding reception on Sat nite, Steve couldn't help but talk about how we were going to run Chicago next month. Steve ran a 1:24 half last weekend at the Ikea Half Marathon in Pittsburgh. Even he is AMAZED by his time. He told me that he's got 22-miler planned in Aruba on his honeymoon this coming week. I asked his new wife Kristine if that was on the agenda. She was like "yes, I need to get my mileage in too for Chicago!" Fun honeymoon for them.

Our other Pittsburgh-based training partner, Aaron, was at the wedding and we sat together at dinner. Like Steve, he had an awesome race. He ran a 1:26 at the Ikea. [man, these guys are rockin'!] Aaron is targeting 3:10 like me. I must confess I am little intimdated that Aaron has the same BQ goal and I've only got a 1:30 half under my belt.

Nevertheless, my 1:30 half was six weeks ago and I've trained up nicely since then. I still feel like I am on track for my goal. I am excited to take on what is really our last week of major training before the taper.

Recap of Week 14

Mon - 8 miles
Tue - 11.6 miles
Wed - Rest
Thu - 4 miles recovery
Fri - 9 miles with 6 miles near LT pace
Sat - About 13 miles in Malvern, PA - Near Siemens HQ
Sun - Recovery - return to Chicago from Philly
Total: About 46 miles

Plan for Week 15

Mon 9/25 - 8 miles - somewhat recovery - may throw in some 6x100m strides per Pfitz
Tue 9/26 - 10 miles - speed workout at track - not sure what the group has planned
Wed 9/27 - Rest
Thu 9/28 - 10 miles Gen Aer
Fri 9/29 - 4 miles recovery
Sat 9/30 - 20 miles

Mileage target: 52 - slightly above Pfitz's schedule

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Week 14 update - Yassos rock

First, my thanks to Bob on the coaching he provided to get the Garmin data into blogland. So cool. Still giddy from this past Saturday's run, I thought I would post my data from a kick-ass 20-miler.

Now, onto more recent business. My plan for this week is/was as follows:

Mon - 7-8 miles easy - "partial" recovery pace
Tue - 10 mile track workout - including 10x800 Yasso repeats
Wed - Rest
Thu - 4-mile recovery
Fri - 9 miles incl. 7 at near LT pace (to simulate race tune-up) - travel to Philly for Steve's wedding
Sat - 15-17 miles - in Philly
Sun - Rest - fly home
TOTAL: 47-49 mile target

Mon 9/18 - I wanted to do the 8 miler semi-easy. Not too fast, but not all the way to recovery pace. Recovery pace is 8:50'ish. EZ pace is about 8 or slightly slower. I did the 8-miles in 8:11 per without stopping for any breaks.

Tue 9/19 - I decided to run in the evening with the CARA group to get a team speed workout in with morale support. Again, I ran with Jim, our group leader, with whom I ran on Saturday long. He's mid-to-late 40's and a great runner. He ran a 1:28 at our recent half marathon and is ontrack for sub-3:10.

It was COOL on Tuesday night. I did a 2.5 mile warm-up before our Yasso 8oo repeats. Our target was to do the 800m's in 3:05 with a 400m recovery of the same time. In summary, we knocked out 10 of these bad boys in an average of 3:04 per 800m. It was pitch black when we got done.

Great stuff. And I felt pretty solid all the way through. We cooled down with another mile and then headed to the pub for burgers and beers.

Today.... rest, baby!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Week 13 complete - Confidence boost!

Week 13 was a grand success. I exceeded my mileage target and topped off the week with an excellent 20-miler that really was a confidence boost.

I am highly optimistic about my progress and feel really good about the race being 35 days away.

Thu, 9/14 - 12 miles easy

6:01 AM - I set the Garmin virtual partner for a 12-mile workout at 8:09 pace. I wanted to keep my speed in check so I could be rested for Saturday's pace run test. I did these miles without any problem.

TOTAL DIST: 12.0 MILES - TIME: 1:38:07 - AVG PACE: 8:10 - AVG HR: 142

Fri, 9/15 - 7:00AM - 5 miles recovery pace - set virtual partner at 8:50 pace.

Sat, 9/16 - The test of the week.

Pfitz calendar called for 17 at 14 race pace. The CARA team was doing their 2nd 20-miler, so I had to make a decision of whether or not to cut back or just go the distance. I figured if I were slightly below average race pace for 20, this would be great indicator of my race potential.

I ran with the 7:30 pace guys, knowing I wouldn't have any issue pushing it to 7:14 (my goal MP) for at least a few splits. They tend to drift to 7:20's anyway. There were only three of us for Saturday.

Some will tell you that we sacrifice at least 5 seconds per mile by running on the gravel trail paths. If that's true, I just ran 20-miler at faster than race pace. Matt, one of my running partners for the day, kept his watching on running time so we would know what kind of breaks we took for Gatorade.

Here are the 20 mile splits. Most notably, check out the last 4 miles.


This was potentially my best marathon training run of all time.

AVG PACE: 7:19
AVG HR: ??? - Forgot the damn monitor

Recap of week 13

Mon - 8 miles general aerobic
Tue - 9 miles w/1000m intervals
Wed - Rest
Thu - 12 miles easy
Fri - 5 miles recovery
Sat - 20 miles - close to race pace

TOTAL: 54 miles

Here is the deal on why my other blog has been rendered useless. Until all of you change, my other blog is shut down.

Users who have switched to Blogger in beta will not be able to login to comment on blogs that have not switched. Commenting using the "anonymous" or "other" options will still work. Update (9/12): We have started working on making this possible, however the change is substantial and will take a little while before it is ready. — latest update on Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Week 13 update - 17 miles WTD

Mon 9/11/06

I think all of us shed at least a few tears as we recollected what happened on this day five years earlier. It happened to me on the way to a meeting in the car. CNN Radio was recanting the chronology of events on that tragic day. We will never forget.

I ran randomly north around Plainfield in the morning. After I was done, I saw off my parents who left after 5 days.

TIME: 1:02:18
DISTANCE: 8.0 miles
PACE: 7:47 per mile
AVG HR: 144

Most intriguing about these stat is my average heart rate. Running 7:47 per mile for 8 total with 144 HR... that's pretty solid.

Tue 9/12

High humidity and cloudy -- On the agenda was 9 miles with 5x1000m repeats at 5k race pace. My latest 5k race pace is 6:18.

Since those damn H.S. tracks are always locked up, and I have the Garmin, I relied on my new device to guide my pace. I set up a custom interval workout. I did a two mile warm-up and then started on the repeats. The repeats were separated with 2:00 of slow jogging as prescribed by Pfitz.

Problem is that Garmin can't keep up with accurate pace readouts over only 0.62 miles. It was hard to know exactly how fast I was running because I kept slowing down and speeding up in response the alarms I set at 6:00 and 6:19 pace.

Dissapointingly, my 1000m repeats look like this on the Garmin output:

4:04 (6:35/mile pace)
4:13 (6:43)
4:07 (6:40)
4:05 (6:35)
3:58 (6:24)

I'm not sure I trust these numbers, but these are what came up on the report. I cooled down on the way back with 2.85 miles at 8:25 pace.

TIME: 1:11:59
PACE: 7:50
AVG HR: 151

On deck tomorrow, 12-miles EZ pace. Going to run these easy at around 8:15 pace. I want to save some energy for my pace run on Saturday. Recovery of 5 miles also slated for Friday.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Week 12 complete - Down to 6 weeks to go

I keep racking up the miles but I must say that I need a confidence boost. It's hard going this far in between races when working towards such a goal. The CDC was already 4 weeks ago.

I know I can run 20 miles or 18 miles or whaterver... but I don't know what kind of pace I can do it at now. People say "but you ran a 1:30 half". Big deal... racing a 30k would be another type of test.

A local running group in Connecticut plans a Boston Build-Up racing series and it helps those who are Boston-bound really track progress.

I think CARA should try to create a Chicago Build-Up race series that links in with the marathon here. All of us in the Chicago area needs a 30k race for this coming weekend or last (5 or 6 weeks out).

Saturday, Sept 9

I made the inaugural run with the Garmin Forerunner 305 on Saturday. Pretty sweet device. I ran 17 miles along the tree-covered Illinois Prairie Path and it seemed to get great reception. I really like the projected split pace feature.

I had 17 on the agenda, thanks to Pfitz, but the CARA team was only doing 12. The Prairie path has mile splits, and inevitably the Garmin seemed to be out of sync with the markers. No problemo, however, as we finished up and my Garmin read 12.02. Just about right on.

I added on another 5 solo after the group retired to the start point. Last 5 mile pace was about 7:36 per mile. Pretty strong finish.

Calories burned had to be off. Garmin said 3300 burned. No f'n way. Oh well, it's the least important stat.

TIME: 2:12:12
AVG PACE: 7:47 per mile
AVG HR: 152 bpm

We capped off our evening with a concert at the Ravinia festival watching Hootie!

Summary of week

Although I hit 48 of 49 miles, I did get in all of my runs. Friday's run, I cut short by 1 mile and did not run LT pace as I had planned. I just didn't feel well. I am blaming it on my diet (greasy pizza the night before).

Now that the parents are heading home, I need to get my eating back on track.

All in all, it's progress. Curious to see if I can run 7:15-7:25 this coming Saturday with the fastest pace group for at least 14 miles.

Upcoming week plan

Mon 9/11 - 8 general aerobic
Tue 9/12 - 9 miles with VO2 max - 5x1000m at 5k pace - jog 2 min in btw
Wed 9/13 - Rest
Thu 9/14 - 12 miles
Fri 9/15 - 5 miles recovery
Sat 9/16 - 17 miles with 14 at marathon race pace
Sun 9/17 - Rest

Friday, September 08, 2006

Week 12 update #2 - She's arrived

Running dudes and dudettes... it's here. I've joined the rank of the running techies. I have in my possession for the very first time a Garmin 305 Forerunner.

Her inaugural journey will be on the tree-covered paths of the Illinois Prairie Path tomorrow for a 17-miler. I'm a little concerned I'll be let down due to the tree cover causing signal interruptions, but we will see. Out here in Plainfield for the rest of the week's runs, there are no trees - so Garmin will do well.

Parents are in town, which are impacting my routine. I'm eating more and sleeping less. :( We chowed pizza last night and it did not do my running much good this morning. We had Mongolian BBQ in Naperville tonight and I am full. I've got to get this eating under control during our final 6 weeks.

Thursday 9/7 - 4 miles easy

Friday 9/8 - was scheduled for a race-like 9 miler - didn't work out - first, i tried again to go the track and it was locked up - drove back home (wasted 20 min) - ended up doing a total of 8 miles with a few tempo miles - stomach was acting up - wasn't in the cards for a race like pace today.

31 miles WTD - Plan was for 49 this week, but I cut this morn's mileage 1 short.

Good luck to you all on the long runs!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My second blog home - Week 12 update

Welcome to my new blog location. I was off my game when signed up to have my blog move to Beta Blogger. You probably already read, but I cannot post comments with my login - and none of you can post to my old blog unless using anonymous.

Guess I need to read the fine print more closely. So I've created this second account to continue my training log.

Mon 9/4 - Labor Day - 8 miles with track intervals

Jen and I went to see Collective Soul in concert in Naperville on Sunday night. Their performance of the song "Run" seemed like an appropriate tune to equate to my training. It kept me out late enough to want to sleep in until 7:45 AM. The 7 beers had nothing to do with it, I swear.

9:00 AM -- Monday was a Pfitz speed day. Again, the nearest HS track was locked up (bastards!) - and I was lucky that the Central HS was open. I warmed up with 5 miles at a EZ pace (guessing 8:30's). Then I hit the track.

I followed the Pfitz plan to do 5 x 600m repeats at 5k pace with 90 sec's jog in between.

My latest (and best 5k) was a 19:32. In my head at the track, I calculated that I would need to run my 600m intervals 2:32. Now, with calculator in hand, I realized my math was off by 10 seconds. My 5k pace would be a 2:22 600m interval.

I thought I was well ahead of my 5k interval pace with the times below, but in retrospect realize I was slightly behind for a couple of them. No wonder I didn't feel tested! I could have run these faster, but was trying to keep to pace.


After the intervals, I finished up with 6 easy 400m laps at 2:00 per lap. Total for the day was about 8 miles.

Tue 9/5 - 11 mile Med-Long run

6:00 AM -- Beautifully cool weather again. Don't you love September running? Low 60's and no humidity.

In summary, I ran for 1:28 with a short water stop at home after 3.5 miles. I have confidence in my "feel" of pace and again am estimating 8 min pace. Could have been slightly faster even. After the short stop, I ran for over an hour straight. No stopping. Kept moving. I felt slightly tired toward the end, but I finished reasonably strong.

My Garmin is en route, people. Expected delivery is on Friday. My training reports will be packed with stats like the rest of you!