Monday, January 28, 2013

12-30-12 through 1-26-13: Phoenix Marathon Training Weeks 6-10 of 14.

Well, after weeks 1-5, I would say that 6-10 weren't quite what I wanted.  I got hit with a very lingering virus that wouldn't go away for the better part of 3 weeks, not to mention that SLC broke all sorts of records in terms of extreme pollution and air quality over the last month.  Until yesterday, I hadn't seen a blue sky in the city since before leaving for Christmas break, not to mention that the air quality was akin to directly smoking a cigarette while doing anything outside, ie making it quite disgusting and difficult to keep my mileage up.  Oh, and I've been logging things over a on a daily basis, so I've been less inclined to keep this updated.  In any case...

(a bad SLC inversion, this one we recently have was considered the worst in history, so it was worse than this...)

Week 10: 65 miles

Sunday: 11 miles in 1:15 with Fritz, Kevin, John, and Nate.  Legs were a little beat up from yesterday (20 miles), so it was harder than it otherwise would've been.  Pace started off slow and picked up a bit a few times.  At times, it felt harder than marathon effort, but only because it wasn't all that even.  After the run, I decided my legs haven't had enough of a beating this weekend, so I slammed down some Aspirin and then skied pretty hard for about 3 hours. Hah.

Monday: 5 miles, 27:56.  5 miles treadmill tempo, didn't have a lot of time before gym closed (early because of MLK day), so I hopped on and used the first mile as a "warmup" (ie, 5:52).  Did the whole thing in 27:56, pace for first 4 miles felt sustainable for somewhere between 10k and 10 miles, but of course this is a treadmill, so it's slightly fast.  Also, since I knew I only had time for 5 miles, I kicked it up in the last mile.  I believe I figured out the mystery of why 5:00-flat mile repeats on the campus gym treadmills seem so easy, even on a small incline.  Up until about 5:18 pace, each uptick made a noticeable difference in difficulty, but after this point, everything between 5:00 and 5:18 felt identical (tried to kick it up for a finishing sprint, but noticed that it didn't get any harder, so the treadmill probably just doesn't actually go faster than 11.3mph). Splits: 5:52, 5:36 (11:28), 5:38 (17:06), 5:32 (22:38), 5:18 (27:56).

Tuesday: Off, resting for a big Wednesday.

Wednesday: Marathon on a treadmill. Hah.  2:53:07, felt comfortable until about 22.  Actually, I took yesterday off to try to rest up my legs, but they were still a little beat up after my bonk-inducing 20 on Saturday, my 11 mile / skiing double on Sunday, and my 5 miles hard on Monday, so they weren't 100% going in.  The goal was to get to the point that the last few miles were pretty uncomfortable, but without beating myself up, so that I wouldn't wreck my training, and I think I accomplished that very well.  I didn't pay attention to pace much while I was running (just tried to keep it comfortable) and inadvertently ran 12 seconds off my PR from 4 years ago, which is really encouraging.  The only ill effects were that my stomach is a little beat up afterwards (very common for me since my stomach sucks) and a couple toes are marginally sore from taking the Kinvaras the longest they've ever gone.  Nutritional plan was supposed to be 4 gels (1 @ 5-6, 1 @ 10-11, 1 @ 15-16, and 1 @20-21), but I knocked one off the treadmill stand about halfway, it landed on the belt, and flew off the back.  When I tried to get someone to grab it for me about 10 minutes later, it was apparently gone (who would take a gel???), so I didn't get the last gel.  That said, I had about 300 calories from Gatorade during the run as well, so nutrition wasn't so bad.  Having the last gel would've been ideal, but I survived without it obviously (I think the finish would've been a bit more pleasant with those extra 100 calories, but w/e...).  Overall, I got exactly what I wanted out of this run, so I'm pleased.  

Converting to the Phoenix course, I consider the fact that this is run at 4500', but at 0% grade (ie, equivalent of 52.8' down per mile, ie -1% grade due to lack of wind resistance).  At Phoenix, with an average elevation of 1500', a net downhill of 850', with about 100' up and 950' down, this would be worth 2:49:56.  I think I'll be happy with a sub 2:47, so basically I would only need the equivalent of 3 minutes faster than today's effort, which is absolutely doable and not bad at all.  I think a faster goal would be a good idea, but in all fairness, I haven't raced a marathon in almost 4 years and I really don't want to blow up.  I have plenty of time to go faster in the future. :)

Thursday: 6 miles, Easy 45 minutes in NSL/Bountiful.  Legs had almost zero pep, but they also weren't that bad.  They kind of just felt a little heavy and slow, but not terribly beat up (quads were a little sore, but only marginally).  

Friday, 9.8 miles, Very easy 45, a hair under 6 miles (intentionally planned this to be 5.8 to balance out the .2 from the marathon as I hate not having an integer mileage total, basically because I'm weird), NSL and Bountiful, would've been happy to do more, but want to not be sore for Winter Series tomorrow (looks like I'll probably still be slightly flat after Wednesday, but oh well...).  Later (1AM), another 4 miles.  Went to a "crazy hat" party, where I demo'd a new music reactive LED hat I just built for fun a couple days ago: .  It was pretty fun, but a girl I met up with there was not OK to drive home and needed her car in the morning to do some MD student stuff, so I drove her home in her car and then jogged back to my car (from Sugarhouse to the U).  Hah.  This was kind of awful, given that I was wearing jeans, boots, and a down jacket literally rated for arctic exploration.

Saturday: 7 miles, probably a hair under 2 miles for the warmup (15 minutes or so), Winter Series 5k in 17:33, 2 mile cooldown (to the 1 mile marker and back).  Considering that I ran a "trial" marathon (~10 minutes off what I would peg as about my max capacity in 5 weeks at the real race) 3 days ago and didn't get nearly enough sleep after some festivities last night, not to mention the altitude factor and the fact that the smog was so disgusting and bad to breathe that the visibility was at times as low as .05 miles, I'll take it.  My legs felt average during the race, certainly not great, but not completely destroyed, although after the race, they just felt hammered. 5k is definitely not my best distance right now.  Hah...

Week 9: 40 miles, felt like garbage for a few days of the week.

Sunday: 15 miles, 1:53.  Started from Highland, did the first 7 with Jake, Kevin, Rob, Andrea, and Allie, then ran over to Sugarhouse Park for some laps (what was it, 5?).   I guess 5 laps makes sense considering that we were at 14.3 when we got back to Highland.  I hate ending at weird numbers like that, so I jogged the perimeter of Highland to get it up to 15.  I accidentally stopped my watch at 14.3 (1:48), but I would figure another 5 minutes or so for the slow/snowy extra bit, so probably about 1:53.  Not particularly quick, but I was sore from the workout and skiing yesterday, so it was enough to make my legs feel a bit beat and give me a light headache at the end (surprisingly similar to when I just haven't done any running of value and try to do my first long run back, but I suspect this was only because I only had a couple Sports Beans and a Clif Bar for breakfast beforehand, with the run starting at 11:30...)  What can I say?  I didn't get up until 10 and then just lay in bed on my computer for another 45 minutes. Hah.  (In hindsight, this is probably because of still being sick).

Monday: 1 mile, 8:0x.  Really frustrating.  Either getting sick again or still sick from 2 weeks ago.  Did about 1 mile, had a pounding headache and a totally sore body, so I decided not to fight it and went home to sleep for 10 hours.

Tuesday: 4 miles, Had to run across campus several times, so I literally ran.  Not really a good day of running, but whatever (felt like crap).

Wednesday: Off, exhausted, felt like crap.

Thursday: Off, exhausted, felt like crap.

Friday: Off, exhausted, felt like crap.

Saturday: 20 miles, 2:16:4x, Ran with Fritz, Kevin, Chad, and Adam for the first 10-ish (after starting a little late and having to run hard at the start to catch up as they had already taken off... hah..), and then Fritz and Kevin the rest of the way.  I think Fritz said it was 19.8 or 19.9.  My time was 2:16:xx (probably 40 something... had 2:17:0x, but forgot to stop my watch when we got caught at a light for 20 seconds).  Felt good up until 17.5-ish when I started to bonk.  It probably didn't help that my "breakfast" consisted of one gel and my nutrition during the run consisted of one more gel.  I gradually got dropped by Fritz and Kevin, but caught back up, until I got dropped again a couple minutes later.  At that point, I was just fighting to keep running, so I lost about a minute on them at the end.  Felt terrible afterwards, but whatever, lesson learned (how many times do I have to learn my lesson about actually getting out of bed early enough to eat breakfast before I do a long run? Hahaha...).  Bonking sucks, but I think it was more because of nutrition than fitness.  Still, today was a reminder that I should not be lazy over the remainder of my marathon training.  If I start to bonk at mile 18 when I'm doing 26.2 instead of 20, things will get a lot uglier.  As for my logging option, this effort would convert to 2:09:30 or so on the Phoenix course at lower altitude, so in all fairness, it wasn't all that far off marathon effort (based on the last few weeks sucking, I'm thinking that 6:20s will be a good goal pace for the gentle course at Phoenix).

Week 7: 56 miles (trying to get things going after being sick, but not quite ready, as evidenced by getting sick again in week 8).

Sunday: Eastern NSL and Bountiful loop starting by going up Orchard and then running all the way up the steep Eaglewood Drive, which felt absurdly slow today.  Legs were actually kind of sore after yesterday's 5k.  I also still felt like the virus was lingering a bit, which is getting extremely annoying.

Monday: Didn't feel good, was at work until 9:30, OFF.

Tuesday: 15 miles at an average of 6:13 (1:33:16) on a treadmill.  Split 10 miles in 62:28 (just under 6:15) and then did the last 5 in 30:48 (just under 6:10).  Last couple were getting pretty hard, but it was manageable.  I had probably 2-3 miles left in me at the end, but the goal wasn't to obliterate myself, so I stopped at 15 as planned (In hindsight, being sick probably hurt me as I'm pretty certain I could hold 6:15 for 20+ now).

Wednesday: 8 miles easy, about an hour, just breaking in some new Kinvara 3s.  I've been wearing shoes under 6 oz for awhile recently and I'm sick of buying new pairs almost constantly, so I decided to try these.  First thoughts?  Holy crap, that's a lot of sole under my foot. Hah.

Thursday: 12 miles, 8 miles in a blizzard, up Lacey, around Bountiful/NSL golf area, over to the southern tip, and back down with various turn-offs, about 10 minutes per mile due to the unbelievably deep snow.  Afterwards, jogged laps in a tennis court (also super deep snow) with Holly chasing me around for half an hour, another 3 or so.  First part was super epic.  The very south-eastern tip of NSL is almost entirely unfinished construction, so the roads were unplowed.  At one point, I crested a ridgeline, running through knee-deep powder, into a very strong headwind, and the only thing I could see in the distance was the super bright white lights on the oil refineries on the west side.  All of the elements combined and I felt like I was in some sort of supernatural post-apocalyptic setting.  I don't know how to explain it, but it was pretty darn cool.  Oh, and one mile of jogging across campus because I was running late for something earlier in the day. 

Friday: Really didn't want to deal with the snow and the weather was bad enough to close the U of U, so I couldn't run at the gym either.  So... just jogged 2 miles with Holly.  Lame, yes, I know.

Saturday: 11 miles, 3 mile warmup, 4 x mile with about 800-1000 meter jog between (varied for me, whereas everyone else did 1000), 2 mile cooldown.  Run at Olympic Oval in Kearns on the 442 meter track.  The "miles" were done from the 1600 meter mark, but lane 1 was closed in a couple spots and blocked by speed-skating coaches in a few other spots, so it was already a full 1609, if not a couple meters more.  Add in dodging angry slow track patrons (and a zamboni on one lap) and the intervals were probably a couple seconds slow.  Mine were 5:22, 5:22, 5:25, 5:24 (at altitude, remember, so these are good times for me), so pretty even.  While it was hard, I had 1, maaaybe 2, left in me if I had to.  That said, I'm not used to doing stuff this fast lately, so I was pretty sore afterwards.  Went skiing later in the day and it just hurt like crazy. Hah. 

Week 6: 18 miles, very sick.

Sunday: 1 mile, Literally jogged with Holly for one mile just to avoid making it an off day.  Really exhausted, turns out I was getting sick.

Monday: Holbrook Canyon, as far up as the snow would allow, and back, with Holly.  Tired, whole body was a little achy.

Tuesday:  Felt absolutely miserable.  Stomache pain, chills, very bad body aches.

Wednesday: Really didn't even leave bed.

Thursday: Slightly better, but still in bed for all but about 30 minutes.

Friday: Tried to prep for a 5k for Saturday.  3 easy miles, a mile at marathon pace, and a mile at 5k pace, plus some strides, to get my body used to running again for a race on Saturday.

Saturday: I picked this race because it was actually a 5k (exactly 5k, without being too short or too long) and pretty flat for Utah (high point and low point only 25 feet apart), so I was irritated when I showed up and the start/finish had been moved by .04 miles off the course, making it 3.18.  

I did a quick 2 mile warmup and roughly half of my fingers and toes went numb (crappy gloves and Nike Zoom Streak XC3, which are very porous mesh on the top), so I quickly grabbed some glove warmers (only had one pair, so I let my feet freeze) right before the race.  

I figured I could show up and run about 16:50 at altitude right now for an actual 5k given that I was forced to rest up due to illness.  However, I wasn't 100% recovered and just wasn't all that fast, so I ended up running 17:45 for 3.18 (17:19 for an actual 5k).  I have no idea what my splits were because the mile markers were seemingly randomly placed (first "1" in 6:39, second "1" in 4:22, last "1.1" in 6:44).  In any case, I won by a couple seconds shy of 3 minutes, so a win is a win.

They gave me a gift card for a free $60 massage, an all-day unlimited pass to Boondock's Fun Center (pretty awesome, right?), a big jar of gels, a box of Lance Armstrong branded honey stinger waffles (hah) and a trophy, so I guess I can't really complain.  As for my effort, it was actually a good honest effort unlike the 5ks I ran in November (a pair of even 17:30s on hilly courses in which I wasn't in that great of shape and felt unable to really push all out), so obviously I'm disappointed that this was slower after having 5 pretty solid weeks of training.  In all fairness, though, I was still sick enough that I could barely breath due to congestion after about a mile or so, so I guess I'll take this one with a grain of salt.

Totals: 179 for 4 weeks, obviously far less than ideal, but my body is good now and the air quality is back to normal after finally getting a big storm that drove it all out, so I'm not forced to choose between staying inside and breathing poisonous air anymore, which is nice.  I did enough to keep making progress by still ensuring that I got the necessary bare bones runs in (long runs and workouts), so I'm still confident about my training for Phoenix.  The next 3 weeks are probably the most important, so I'm glad to say that I'm off to a great start for week 11 (25 over the first 2 days and feeling good in a workout earlier today).  I would like to average roughly 80 miles per week over the next 3 weeks with 3 good quality workouts and 3 good quality long runs before cutting to ~60 on week 14 and then 25-ish prior to the race on race week.  After my treadmill 2:53:07 at altitude that was not as difficult as an actual marathon race, I'm confident that my seemingly cemented goal of 2:46 will be achievable.

Music for the past 4 weeks is Grieg's Two Elegiac Melodies for strings.  I saw this in concert with Sibelius' Violin Concerto, Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody, and Kodaly's Dances of Galanta at the Utah Symphony a few weeks back and it was fantastic!

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