Tuesday, December 30, 2008

training Dec.29-Jan. 3

12/29- Hurting when I woke up but felt better as the day progressed. Untimed 3 mile that felt much freer and easier than my 2 previous runs. Achilles still a bit tender but I got some new running shoes, my first pair of Asics, that seem to have good support where I need it.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0
12/30-last run before the New Years time trial and the official end of the preseason. It was not very good. I saw that had lost 2 pounds before I started, back down to 151 so that usually means that I am becoming more hyperthyroid and I felt it today.
Strong first 2 miles in 14:50, then deliberately slowed down to 8:00 pace but by the end of it, I was fading and putting forth effort to run an "easy pace" Time for 4 miles was on target at 30:51 but I could not have come close to a PR at any distance today if I went all out. I will load up on Lithium to slow my thyroid/adrenal activity and will attempt the 26.2 on Thursday. If I can't do it, I'll quit early, take an F and try again another day.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=4.0
12/31-planned rest day
1/1- PR marathon time trial.

I slept in as long as I wanted and headed out the door around 9:30. Temp was in the low 40s with clear skies and a 10 mph wind but it warmed up to the mid 50s by the time I finished. My legs were a bit stiff and I didn't feel very well after 3 miles and felt my body chemistry was a little out of whack but I still did fairly well.

For me, the marathon is divided into 4 stages.

1-16- should not feel much effort. There's something wrong if I do.

16-20- pain setting in, must push to maintain pace, usually slow by 10-15 secs per mile but could maintain it if these were the last 4 miles of a race

20-23- much harder but the wall doesn't hit me suddenly. Pace slows again but I can hold the new pace for a while

23-26- every step is agony, pace slows again and the time goes by so slowly and the end cannot come soon enough.


8:21 (too fast in the first 1/4 mile)

8:30 (better)

8:39 (on pace but shouldn't feel this tired)

8:42 (OK, just hold this pace)


8:38 (feeling better)

8:38 (good)

8:45 (slipped a little)

8:34 (good)


8:42 (hanging on)


8:45 (13.1 in 1:53:25, up by 2 mins. over last time)

8:47 (slowest one yet, need to stay below 9)

8:44 (hanging on)

8:45 (10 miles away from a PR)

8:55 (starting to hurt, phase 2 has begun)

8:56 (hanging on)

8:57 (hanging on, phase 3 coming)

9:01 (dang, still 2 mins. up on PR pace at 2:54:26)

9:00 (just keep this pace)

9:09 (slipping, can't hold the pace, no sub-3:50 but I'll still PR)

9:13 (thought it would be worse)

9:21 (when will this be over)

9:49 (new level of pain)

9:29 (almost done)

1:59 (last lap on a track)

Final time of 3:52:27 (PR by 3:36).
Grade:B+/3 credits/distance=26.25
1/2- well deserved day of rest, not hurting as much as I feared.
1/3- 5K recovery jog. Got about what I expected today. I didn't push it at all and was just happy to be able to run at all. 2 days after a marathon and I'm able to run. That's a pretty quick recovery. Time of 25:43 was faster than the first 5K of the marathon. I'll take it.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.25
Weekly summary:
Solid workouts but nothing was overly impressive. Still managed to stay above a 3.0 because of my PR marathon. The stakes are higher now than the 2009 season is officially underway. I want to hit 40 MPW with nothing very hard next week. I am listed as doubtful for the race in St. Louis on MLK weekend but I could change my mind and treat it like a training run.
Distance= 36.50 GPA=18.2/6 credits= 3.033 GPA

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

training Dec. 21-28

12/21-planned rest day
12/22- Another split workout. Injury scare 2.5 miles into moderate paced 5 miler. I was at 18:20 at the half with bad calf and shin pain then stopped to remove old orthotics. Proceeded to run final 2.5 in a fairly comfortable 16:53 (6:45 pace), which would have been a PR if I had run the 2nd half pace the entire way. I'll count it as a good tempo effort. Longer and easy tomorrow.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=5.5
12/23-Good tempo run. 6 miles at goal half marathon pace (45:22), on pace for just under 1:39 in the half, followed by 1 mile at 5K pace with no break in between. Last mile was a strong 6:19 (19:40 5K pace). This run has got me curious about my current 5K fitness but my focus will remain on the marathon until Spring. Training is a bit fast but my mileage will be low this week for obvious reasons.
Grade:A/2 credit/distance=7.5
12/24-travel day, no running.
12/25- Christmas Day, no running
12/26-3.25 miles with an old HS teammate. Pace was about 7:30. Mild pain in my foot that should go away when the new orthotics come in. I didn't have my best stuff and doubt that I could have gone much farther than 10K at that pace. Below average.
BAFA reuninon at night, another half mile easy.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=4.0
12/28-untimed 2 mile while sleep deprived and had just finished my trip home. Pace felt decent, tender achilles during the run and calf pain afterwards was a bit scary. A bit better than the last run but still no better than average.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=2.0
Weekly summary: These injury scares and aches and pains are causing me a lot of anxiety. The cut back in mileage was part of a taper for an important time trial next week. This was my third straight week above 3.0 but ended on a pretty sour note.
Distance= 19.0. Weekly GPA= 18.6/6 credits= 3.100

Saturday, December 20, 2008

2009 running plans

Let me say in advance that every single one of these is Lord willing. He may have other ideas for me and it is up to Him. I will gladly skip one of these races if I have a new job and can't get the time off.
January- no major races planned but I may take a road trip on MLK weekend and there is a race series near St. Louis. If I do run, I will do so only if the weather cooperates and it will be nothing more than a training run
Feb- big one will be the Mercedes half marathon in Birmingham on 2/15. Until then, it will be mostly long slow miles with an occasional long interval session and tempo effort.
March- Azalea Trail 10K in Mobile on 3/28. The course has been described as "lightning fast" so I will add some more speed to my training in the month leading up to race day but will keep the mileage fairly high. A PR is a good bet.
Apr-May- Fargo marathon on 5/9, back to high mileage before the taper then a rest for the remainder of the month.
Last half of the year- It's too hot to do 18-22 miles in the Alabama heat so I'll be training like a miler over the summer. It's too soon to make any race plans but I will likely focus on local 5Ks and may enter an open track meet. By late fall, I may run another half mary but not another full.
On another note, unlike most other athletes, my running truly has a cause. If it took me 50 minutes to run a 10K and 4 hours 30 minutes to run a marathon, there will not be too many people that will be convinced that my alternative medicine plans really do work. If I come back stronger than ever (40 min. 10K, 3:30 marathon), I just might make others believe. Still, I can't be stupid about pushing too hard and I must remember the priorities listed in an earlier post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Training Dec. 14-20

12/14- 6 miles easy in 47:37. Sore warming up but once I got going, I could run a 7:45 pace with no effort. I actually forced myself to back off and ran the last 3 miles slightly over 8:00. Including the warmup, I covered the full 26.2 distance over the weekend.
Grade: A/1 credit/distance= 6.25
12/15- 7 miles in 58:16, steady 8:20 pace. In fact, miles 3-5 were all 8:21. Felt nearly effortless and felt good the next day. If I want to run 50 MPW, I'll have to run my easy days at 8:20 instead of 8:00. Probably worth it to slow down.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.25
12/16- 3 mile tempo run in 21:24 (7:01-7:14-7:09) plus a 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown. This breaks a string of 7 consecutive above average workouts. I'm not too worried about it though. I wasn't horrible as it is and I've done 38.5 miles in 4 days so I don't think it's anything more serious than natural fatigue from increased training. Probably a rest tomorrow then I have 2 days to run the 11.5 needed to hit 50.
Grade:C+/2 credit/distance=5.0
12/18- easy 10 miles in 82:55. Felt good about my pace and the effort but not pleased about the soreness in my foot. Pace was pretty even (no worse than 8:24, no faster than 8:08). This clearly demonstrates that if I want to run 50 MPW, a slowdown in pace is required, maybe to 8:30.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=10.5
12/19- Untimed 3 mile recovery jog at a glacial pace. Felt pretty good despite some soreness.
The 52 miles from Saturday to Friday is a new personal high for any 7 day period.
Grade: Pass/0 credit/distance=3.0
12/20- Interesting workout. My body is feeling really weird. I needed extra sleep and had a vivid dream (rare for me) Plantar fasciitis has flared up a bit but I'm not too worried about it. I wasn't planning on doing much until New Years anyway. I wasn't expecting much when I finally dragged myself out there then I couldn't slow down from a fast early pace and ended up dividing my workout. 4 miles in 29:50. 10 minute rest to get some Gatorade followed by a pretty solid 3 mile tempo run in 20:34 (6:46-6:54-6:54) then a long cooldown
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=8.0
Week summary:Quality week of workouts, no major thyroid/adrenal flare ups but based on my body's response to the training, I cannot maintain this mix of intensity and mileage. One of the 2 must be cut and since my goal race is a marathon, it is the intensity that will be cut. 26.2 time trial on 1/1/09 and the taper starts now.
Distance= 40.0, Weekly GPA: 26.3/8=3.278

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vulcan 10K race report

2008 Performance of the year (11/1):
What a way to end a great racing season!
I came in with a strong training PR of 43:15 on a flat track when I felt exceptionally strong. I knew that I was in good shape and relatively stable as far as the pills were concerned but the course was fairly hilly so I did not expect to PR. Anything in the 44s would have been acceptable, a high 43 would be better than average but I never expected to come in under 43.
Pre-race: left work an hour early and drove the 90 minutes to Birmingham so I could save $5 by registering the day before the race. I talked a co-worker in running this one with me and we met for dinner at a Bar and Grill. I chose to stay in a hotel within a half mile of the starting line rather than get up before dawn and risk being late because of a traffic jam. Good call. Everything went smoothly on race morning and after a good warm up, I was set to go.
Race day:
The plan was to go out a hair under 7:00 , run an even effort on the uphill and hope for a fast 5th and 6th mile.
Good start, felt strong and relaxed. I looked down at my GPS to find that I was under 6:30 pace in the first quarter mile. Okay, time to slow down. I hit the first mile right on target then considered the slowdown in the previous ¾ mile and decided to pick it up a tad. I felt great at 2 miles, slightly ahead of schedule. The hills came about a ¼ mile later and I reminded myself, “Even effort.” My breathing became a little labored but I held my position well and actually passed a few runners. I passed 5K right at 21:37 so an even split would get me a PR and I was nearly at the top of the hill. Once I hit the downhill, I got right back on pace. There would be a couple of mild inclines in mile 4 but it was probably net downhill. Mile 4 was right on pace then I hit a steep downhill around 4.5 and rolled past 3 runners. I was in a rhythm on the downhill and always find it hard to run the flats after going downhill for so long but I would hit the 5 mile split at a new PR for that distance. With one mile to go, I knew that I only needed run a 7:00 pace to go under 43:00 and I was slightly under that. I felt that I should have started my kick earlier but with 200 to go, I saw 3 runners about 10 yards ahead of me, including one that I had met before. There was no way that any of them would beat me to the finish line. I crossed the line with an unofficial watch time of 42:43 (timing mats malfunctioned), gun time was 42:47. I raised my arms in triumph and let out a yell. Even last year, a low 21 would have been a very good 5K for me. Now, I can do it twice with hills and no break. I’ve come a long way from the 26:xx 5K just over 2 years ago. Next up: short break then Mercedes half.
7:12 (uphill)
6:29 (downhill)
1:45 (.3 on Garmin, 6:00 )* last 200 was much faster than that.
42:43 –PR by 32 secs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chicago half-marathon race report (9/14/08)

Pre-race: As was the case several times before this year, my medical issues flared up the week before I was to leave and I was questionable to run up until about 4 days prior to the race. Again, I began to feel better in the 2 days before I left and felt good about my prospects for a PR race. My training PR at the time was 1:43:56 (7:56 pace per mile). Anything under 1:45 (8:00 pace) would have been acceptable but I fully expected to do better and my recent training runs indicated that on a good day, I could get close to 1:40 (7:38 pace) but a more moderate goal was a sub 1:42, which would break my 2007 time by 6 minutes or nearly 30 seconds per mile.

I left work in Montgomery, Alabama at 3 PM on Thursday and headed north on I-65, stopping between Birmingham and Huntsville for a good sit down meal. Traffic was rough around Nashville but I did make it up to the Kentucky line before bed. When I got to Indiana, I would never see the sun again and I had to deal with periods of rain all the way into Chicago. Again, traffic was slow going into Chicago and I arrived just after dark, ate my dinner at the hotel (1 beer and an overpriced burger) and settled in for bed. I wanted the day before the race to be more relaxing so I slept in as long as I wanted, ate a good breakfast, then headed to the race expo via a taxi cab. The expo was at a place called Navy Pier, which was a pretty cool shopping area with some history. I would buy the ususal Power Bar, energy gels along with a disposable rain jacket and cap that would prove to be life savers. From there, I got back to the hotel and took an unpleasant drive about 55 miles north to the Wisconsin border (my 40th state visited). I had to take a couple of detours, which turned a 1 hour trip into 3 hours, but I made it, stopped at Mc D's and got some gas. It was a smooth ride back to Chicago and I just relaxed for the rest of the day and treated myself to a good steak dinner downtown for a relatively moderate price.

Race day:

No nerve wracking traffic jam this time. I took a shuttle from my hotel to starting line and arrived in plenty of time. I felt good warming up and would try for a PR. FYI: This race was on my 28th birthday so what better way to celebrate. The forecast called for the rain to let up but it never did and the entire race was run in a steady rain. Much of the course was along Lake Michigan and through parts of the University of Chicago but I couldn't take in much of the scenery because of the rain. It was a fast course with a couple of slight inclines but nothing that would signigicantly slow your pace. The gun sounded and within a minute, I along with the 1:40-1:45 group was across the line. The plan was to go out at a comfortable 7:45-7:50 pace early then try for a negative split and a possible late run at 1:40. My first mile was a perfect 7:45 and felt free and easy then I inadvertantly increased my pace in the next mile. Okay, settle down now. I was back on target in the next mile and by the end of 5, it was clear that it was a good day but I didn't quite have my absolute best stuff. I came through mile 5 at 38:52 officially, on pace for just about 1:42-flat but I was starting to feel the effort a little sooner than I had hoped. I lost a few more seconds over the next 2 miles and came through the halfway point unofficially at 51:17. With 6 miles to go, I made my first effort to increase the pace and turned in a sub 7:40 split and felt poised for another negative split. Unfortunately, I was unable to hold it and by mile 9, I was slipping. The 10 mile split was officially 78:11, still on pace for a 1:42:30, but my previous 5 miles had been 39:19, which wasn't too bad actually (only 5.5 secs slower than the first 5). I stopped for some Gatorade and a sip of water shortly thereafter, which was necessary to avoid a meltdown but my legs became stiff and it took a while to regain my previous form. Miles 11-12 were the only ones above 8:00 and with 1 mile to go, I knew that a PR was a sure thing, sub-1:42 had slipped away but a sub-1:43 seemed likely considering that I was not yet on empty. I managed to finish pretty strong in the last mile but was fooled when the GPS measured the course at 13.20 instead of 13.11. I had to push it to the finish line but I knew I had it and raised my arms in triumph. Watch time: 1:42:53. Official time: 1:42:50. PR by 1:06.
Unoffical Splits:7:45 -7:30-7:50-7:49-7:47 -7:53- 7:48 -7:39
7:51-7:52-8:07-8:02-7:38-1:20 for last .2 (6:40 pace)/
51:17-51:33- that's probably the most even split that I've done in a race


The bag check was a nightmare because nobody stuck around after the race to eat some food and take in the atmosphere. We all wanted out of there so we could dry off. I stood still for 20 minutes waiting to get my bag and a full hour waiting for the shuttle, which was very late. I did have a good conversation with others but I shivered from the chilly rain while my already stiff knees became more painful. I washed up, called my parents, then checked out of my hotel around noon. With any luck, I could make it back to north Alabama before the end of the day. It was not to be. The rain continued and it took 3 hours, including detours, flooded roads and sitting still until I finally made it southbound on I-65 by 3:30 PM. The rain stopped and I finally saw my first peak of sun when I hit Indianapolis. The rest of the trip would be clear sailing. I spent the night in Tennessee and hit the road early Monday morning. I got back to Montgomery by lunchtime and something inside told me that I should put in a half day at work. I do not take a sick day unless I am bedridden. So I showed up wearing my gold finishers medal and told the tale to anyone who would listen.

Unfortunately, the good feeling did not last long. A few days later, I learned that I had been rejected for a job that I desperately wanted but there would be a payoff. Because I showed up for work after my ordeal, I was featured in the employee newsletter, which would make my current job a bit more tolerable and the article could be used in my favor on my next job interview, hopefully in January.

Monday, December 8, 2008

training Dec. 7-13

12/7- Easy 6 in 46 minutes. On an easy recovery day, I was able to run the same pace as an all-out effort last week. This formula is working very well so far. Pace slowed a bit towards the end but I maintained an even effort.
Grade: A-/1 credit/ distance=6.0
12/8- Speedwork to keep the body guessing and maintain some 5K fitness. When marathon training starts, I will do this type of workout maybe once every 2-3 weeks. I've lost a lot of speed and it's a little depressing. Stats: Mile: 6:02, Half: 3:00, Quarters: 90, 77. Followed by 2 miles at glacial pace for a warmdown. I am sore but I have every right to be since I am just 2 days removed from a 16 miler and I didn't exactly take it easy the next day. Felt a tad off form but this still goes in the books as a decent workout.
Grade: B/2 credits/distance=4.0
12/9- Another easy 6, this one in 48 minutes. No easy run should be much faster than 8:00 no matter how good I feel or else I'll pay for it down the road. Even pace but breathing got a bit heavy towards the end. Good overall. Weight is up to 150, which is good for me.
Grade: B+/1 credit/distance=6.0
12/10- earned a rest day.
12/11- 5 mile tempo in 35:54. A bit faster than I planned. Hopefully, I will not have to pay for it on Saturday. Started too fast then settled into a solid tempo pace and had plenty left at the end. I probably could have done a sub-35 in an all-out time trial, which I still consider to be good.
Long cooldown at the end. Felt good after workout and mildly sore day after.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=6.0
12/12- rest to prepare for Saturday's effort
12/13- 20 miles in 2:49:26. Not as strong as last week but still a very solid effort. Started a tad fast this time and battled all the way for a sub-8:30. This was not quite an all out effort but pretty darn close to it. Pace per mile: 8:28, marathon pace of 3:42. Not bad at all for a 1 day taper. 10 mile split was 84:21, followed by a hard fought last half in 85:05. That's pretty good splits. I probably could have done a full mary in the mid-high 3:40s and should do better if fully rested. Last mile was 8-flat and last quarter was 1:51 so the tank was low but not empty.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=20.0
Week summary: Distance: 42.0/ Weekly GPA: 27.8/8= 3.475
This was my best week of the preseason. 42 miles without too much difficulty. That's what happens when I am symptom-free. I think I could have done 45 at this pace but hitting 50 will require me to slow down a bit. Nothing but long and easy and maybe 1 tempo before my New Year assault on my full mary PR.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Road trips (indirectly running related)

One of my goals is to visit all 50 U.S. states and big road races often give me an excuse to visit locations that I normally would not see (ex. Fargo, North Dakota for a marathon). Here's an alphabetical list of where I've been so far and where I'd like to go soon.
Note: I've heard of a club that has a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. I am not that obsessive. My only concern is to see at least a potion of all 50 states.
Drive-through counts but I make it a point to at least stop for gas or better yet a local diner.
Airport layovers do not count nor do flyovers.
42 down, 8 to go.
Alabama- live here. Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville, Gulf Shores.
Alaska- not yet. hope to run Humpy's half mary then go hiking.
Arkansas- Ozarks on an '06 road trip, passed through West Memphis, Little Rock, Pine Bluff
Arizona- NW corner between Vegas and Utah ('08) , will return to see Grand Canyon
California- vacation with parents in '95. LA,SF, Santa Barbara, Pacific coast. I want to see San Diego and race there.
Colorado-vacation with parents in '96. Pike's Peak, Colorado Springs, will return to visit a buddy in Denver and may run Garden of Gods or Bolder Boulder
Connecticut- passed through on the way to Boston when very young, will return only if I ever qualify for the Boston marathon
Delaware- beach just up the Coastal Highway from Ocean City, MD
Florida-Miami, Tampa, Okeechobee, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Panama City, Pensacola
Georgia-Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Valdosta, north GA mountains
Hawaii- not yet, I'll find someone to race with there.
Idaho- not yet, I'm aware of races in the area
Illinois- Chicago half '08, passed through southern IL on an '03 road trip.
Indiana- I-65 to Chicago, stopped in small southern IN towns and Chi suburbs for meals.
Iowa- not yet, hope to race in St. Louis and drive 3 hrs to the border.
Kansas- SE corner on '06 road trip to Ozarks
Kentucky-Lexington, Appalachia, Bowling Green plus other small towns
Louisiana- New Orleans and northern portion
Maryland- Salisbury, Ocean City, Baltimore/DC, Frederick, western portion
Maine-Portland, Kennebunk
Massachusetts-Boston, Plymouth (too young), return only if I qualify for Boston marathon
Michigan- SW corner during Chicago trip, also Grand Rapids when very young
Minnesota- flew into Minneapolis, drove from there to Fargo.
Missouri-SE and SW corners, hope to visit St. Louis and maybe race there.
Montana- not yet, will race nearby
Nebraska- not yet, will cut through a corner near Denver
Nevada-Las Vegas
New Hampshire-Concord, White Mountains
New Jersey-Trenton, Rutgers
New Mexico- not yet, near Grand Canyon
New York-Buffalo, Cooperstown, Albany
North Carolina-Charlotte, Asheville, Blue Ridge mountains, Carolina Beach, Chapel Hill
North Dakota-Fargo marathon in '09.
Ohio- Cleveland, Sandusky, Canton, Marietta
Oklahoma-SE and NE corners
Oregon-Eugene (marathon), Portland, Coos Bay, coast
Pennsylvania-Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Altoona, Harrisburg
South Carolina-Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, used to live here.
South Dakota-Rapid City, Mt. Rushmore
Tennessee-Gatlinburg, Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis
Texas-Texarkana, NE corner
Utah-St. George, Zion, Bryce Canyon
Vermont-Rutland, Green Mountains
Virginia-Norfolk, Richmond, DC, Roanoke, Charlottesville
Washington-Vancouver, may race in Spokane
West Virginia-Wheeling, Charleston, Beckley
Wyoming-not yet, just north of Denver.

visited 40 states (80%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or try another Douwe Osinga project

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Training Nov. 30-Dec.6

11/30-travel day. no running but it was not a relaxing day because it rained most of the trip.
12/1- easy 4 at the gym, cold and windy outside. Steady 8:10-8:15 pace with very little effort followed by the last 1/2 mile at tempo pace. Felt pretty good overall despite stiff calf muscles.
Grade:B/1 credit/ distance: 4.5
12/2- Pretty sorry excuse for a tempo run in an all-around bad day. Felt awful when I woke up but got better as day progressed. Held pace for 2 miles, then slipped into a rut. Calf cramped in the 5th mile and managed to finish the workout with a turtle pace at the end. Overall pace of 8:00 is more than 30 secs slower than my target. Calf remains very stiff and sore. This is not good. New formula must be tweaked. Will this ever end?
Grade: D+/2 credits/ distance:6.0
12/3- 4 mile fartlek. 600 at marathon pace followed by 200 at tempo pace. Overall pace was near 8:00/mile. Calf muscle held up well on the pick ups but outside of that, no real improvement over the day before. Still feeling very hyperthyroid. Another tempo next.
Grade: C-/1 credit/ distance:4.0
12/4- 5 miles in 37:29. Maybe another baby step in the right direction. Took almost an all out effort just to run a so-so tempo pace. I was cooked after 2 miles and ran the last half much slower than the first half. (7:18-7:23-7:32-7:39-7:37). Minor calf issues but no spasms.
Rest tomorrow then I will try a 16 miler on Saturday at marathon pace or slower.
Grade:C/2 credit/ distance:5.5
12/6- 16 miles in 2:11. (8:12 pace). Go figure. I never expected this type of breakthrough. Felt great all the way through. Early pace was 8:20-8:30 then increased pace to just over 8:00 in the second half. Last mile was a comfortable 7-flat so I could have gone much faster. This is a 3:34 marathon pace. I'm in PR shape for sure at this distance.
Grade: A+/2 credit/ distance: 16.0
Week summary:
Distance= 36.0/ GPA= 19.9/8=2.488
Inconsistent again. Hopefully, I can build momentum heading into the next week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Medical report

Neurotransmitters: Good news here and no surprises.
Best news: For the first time on record, my adrenals are producing enough adrenaline. Yes!
-other adrenal hormones are normal as well
-dopamine and serotonin (mood chemicals that also impact energy) are also normal and I've done this without antidepressant drugs.
-GABA is a bit lower than I wanted but still within the normal range (unbalanced GABA causes panic attacks)
Hair test: I was not as pleased with this one
Good news:
-blood sugar ratio is perfect.
-I have reversed adrenal burnout and that ratio is actually slightly above normal.
-previous zinc deficiency has edged into the normal range, copper improved as well (both can cause fatigue if they are too low)
Bad news (and a surprise):
-hyperthyroid condition has worsened (now almost 2.5 times faster than ideal). Supplements designed to slow my thyroid cause joint and muscle pain and I feel lethargic when I run on these supplements. I feel better when I stimulate my thyroid. That is not unheard of but still unusual and it makes me feel uneasy. It almost always suggests that one is compensating for other deficiencies, often low neurotransmitters. In my case, I am very low on chromium and manganese, which are associated with fatigue.
New plan: Get my body to a point in which I can tolerate what I must take to slow down my thyroid. No further action on my neurotransmitters should be necessary. Let me remind y'all that I achieved all of my running goals in 2008 including a sub-43 10K on the Vulcan course and a sub-20 5K on a track. Without a doubt, I can get significantly faster if I can get my thyroid closer to balance and I may feel better than I ever thought possible but there will be more ups and downs along the way.
I know it's wrong to live in the past but I can't help but wonder how good I could have been at the shorter distances if I never developed this disease. Now, of course I want to reach my potential in the longer distances. The doc says that it's rare to see people precisely in balance but research has shown that they tend to be the most successful in every area of life (not a surprise). I don't expect to be perfect on every ratio but if I can get my thyroid down to 1.25 times faster than ideal, the ill-effects should be minimal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

training Nov. 23-29

11/23- 5 mile time trial in 35:39 (7:09-7:07-7:14-7:13-6:56). I only planned on running this at tempo pace (37s) so I could push Tuesday's long run. Early pace was faster than expected so I decided to go for it. Felt more like myself than any time last week despite mild rut in miles 3 and 4. Maybe I could have gone faster with a running buddy. In any event, I am almost there. Short and easy tomorrow then a 13 miler Tuesday. I may or may not push it hard. We'll see how I feel at the time. Still no news on the medical report. I should hear shortly after Thanksgiving but this run removes any doubt. I am on the right track.
Grade:A-/3 credits/ distance:5.5
11/24- 3 miles smooth and easy. Time was 23:30 but that's not important on an easy day. No ill-effects at all from yesterday's time trial. This pace felt almost effortless. Incidently, the pace of 7:50 per mile is exactly the same as my half marathon PR and would bring me home in 3:25 for a marathon. I think I can hold this pace for 13.1 but I will probably not try for a PR tomorrow. 2 all out time trials in 3 days is a bit much even when a rest day follows.
Grade:A/1 credit/ distance: 3.5
11/25- 13.1 miles in 1:42:38 PR. Just had to go for it. I couldn't resist.
Felt great the entire way except for a calf cramp in the final lap. Room for improvement if I had gone out a bit faster and drank a bit more. I know I can beat this time on race day and hope to break 1:40 come February at Mercedes.
Splits: (7:55-7:49-7:52-7:47-7:55-7:52-7:48-7:49-7:55-7:55-7:43-7:48-7:32-56)
Halfway point: 51:35, 2nd half: 51:03. 10 days to PR after 2 week break. That's awesome
Grade:A+/3 credits/ distance: 13.25
11/27-3 times around my parents' neighborhood. Struggled a bit on the hills. I didn't time it or push the pace but it felt about average. I will post the medical report next week. The news is mixed and somewhat surprising.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance:2.25
11/28- 2 slow laps around the block. Sluggish early but warmed up later. Really didn't feel up to running so I didn't push it. I'm not too concerned because I'm out of my routine but this was not a good sign
Grade:C/1 credit/distance:1.50
11/29- 5 mile tempo in 37:30. Felt better than yesterday. Pace was slightly slower than my normal tempo pace but it's still a decent run. Probably would have been in the 36s if this was a race. This goes in the books as about average.
Grade:B-/2 credit/distance:5.0
Week summary: Improvement over last week but still inconsistent. 2 time trials, 1 other quality workout and 3 easy ones. Glad that I topped 30 miles and hope to hit 35 next time.
Distance= 31.00 Weekly GPA: 38.1 QP/11 credits= 3.46

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why I am starting a running blog

Although I am an experienced runner, I have not kept a regular running log in a long time and have been told that perhaps a blog may motivate me to do so. As a disclaimer, I will devote this blog entirely to running but it is certainly not the only thing that I care about. God always comes first followed by my relationships with others. I am a big believer in alternative medicine and more information on that subject can be found on my main website: (http://jzehnder208.googlepages.com/). Some of the readers of my site have expressed curiosity about my training, including what I do when my medical condition does flare up, and have encouraged me to post a training log. You got it!

Background info:

-competitive middle distance runner in high school, recruited by Division II schools.

-ran off and on through college and graduate school, limited by injury and illness

-returned to serious running in October 2006 with more focus on longer distances.

My days of running sub 60 second quarter miles are probably behind me but there is still plenty of room for improvement especially at the half marathon and marathon distances.

My training philosophy: quality over quantity, improve at every distance 5K and over.

Some people have told me that my workout times are too fast for my goal marathon pace. Indeed that is true if you look at suggested paces for my times at the longer distances but my times do not "line up" based on the McMillian calculator. Based on my mile time, I should run a 3 hour marathon but my current PR is almost 4 hours. For those who are familiar with VDOT, I am a 53 for the mile and a 39 for the marathon right now. That difference would have been even greater when I was a competitive 800 man. Why the disparity? My medical issues hurt my endurance more than my speed. A long run at 53 VDOT pace would be suicide while a speed workout at 39 VDOT pace would feel pedestrian so I forget the "Smart Coach" tables and run by feel. Normally, I split the difference between the 53 and the 39 for my long runs and push my speed work pretty hard. FYI: Since I started my comeback, I have had no running injuries.

Although I do tailor my training to the distance I plan on racing in the near-future, I do faster tempo runs and occasionally throw in a speed workout during marathon training. Conversely, I do a 16-18 mile run during a more speed-oriented 5K training cycle. This allows me to set PRs at longer distances even when I am not specifically training for the event. Some runners are "mileage freaks" and do very little running other than LSD (long slow distance) and brag about their high mileage. I disagree with that approach. If I ran everything at 10:00 mile pace or slower, sure I could run 70 miles per week but my 5K would get worse, not better. I certainly will not improve if I do my training at post-bonk marathon pace.
My log terminology:
Grade: just like school, A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=poor, F=failure, (range from A+ to F-).
Credit: 1=easy recovery day, 2=quality workout (long run, tempo, interval) 3= all out time trial, often a PR attempt at an odd distance (rare) 4=actual race (less than 1 per month)
GPA determined just like school by dividing quality points by credits.
Obsessive? They call me Crazy Justin for a reason.
Best times of '08:
800 -2:30
Half- 1:42:38
Full- 3:56:03
One more disclaimer: I am striving for consistency in '09. Yes, I did meet or exceed all of my target times coming into '08 but there were periods in which my good workouts were few and far between. I would rather be stuck running at this level in '09 than break all my PRs while averaging 1 excellent workout per week with the rest being rated as fair or poor. A weekly GPA consistently over 3.00 indicates that my health is at least "good" every week. That is more important to me than my best times of the year.

Training Nov. 14-22

Nov. 14- AM- 1 mile run- 6:24 (3:18-3:06) . Shooting for low-mid 6 with comfortable effort and a negative split and did just that.
PM- 3 mile tempo in 21:46 (7:14-7:16-7:16). Maybe pushed too hard on my first day after a 2 week layoff. Very sore groin. Pretty much sore all over.
Grade: B/Credit/2 Distance: 4.5

Nov. 15- 3.5 miles in 28:13. Planned to go 6 miles at 8:00 pace. Held pace for the first 3 (23:50) then ran out of energy and called it quits after a pedestrian 4:23 next half. Body chemistry is clearly out of whack.
Grade: F/Credit/1 Distance: 3.5
Distance=8.0/ GPA=6/3 credit= 2.00
Nov. 17- 5 miles in 39:26. Better after taking modulator supplement for adrenals. Faded after 2nd mile, felt locked into 8:00 pace and couldn't pick it up no matter what I did. Oh well, this was not meant to be a hard time trial. (7:52-7:45-7:59-7:59-7:51). Groin pain is no worse.
Grade: C-/credit/2/ Distance:5.5

Nov. 18- 7.5 miles in 62:xx (8:20-8:30 pace). Sloppy form, put forth tempo effort just to run what I normally do on an easy day. Not all that tired but could not pick it up. Legs felt like they burdened with weights. This does not feel right. I will try excitatory neurotransmitters.
Grade:C-/credit/2/ Distance: 8.0/

Nov. 19- 3x800 with long rests. I knew before the run that excitatory neurotransmitter support was not the answer. I just wanted to see how I felt if I tried to run. Out of breath after just 15 seconds but leg pain diminished. Times were abysmal but at least I know that my neurotransmitters are balanced without the support. Bovine adrenal substance in my next option.
Grade:F+/credit/1/ Distance: 1.5/

Nov. 20- 5 mile time trial to test new formula= success. Time is down to 36:55 (improvement of 30 secs. per mile). These workouts tell me that my neurotransmitters are balanced but my adrenals are sluggish. I am unsure about my thyroid function. It will be a lot easier to fix if both my thyroid and adrenals are sluggish. I'll get confirmation when my medical report comes back. I have faith that my doctor and I will find something that works long-term.
Splits:7:16-7:18-7:29-7:35-7:21. Still got into a rut in the 3rd and 4th miles but I'm clearly on the right track now. I have split the difference between my PR and Monday's time.
Grade:B-/credit/3/ Distance: 5.5/

Nov.21- Easy 10 in 83:50. Much improved since 11/18 despite similar pace. This time I did not put forth tempo effort to achieve target time. 9 out 10 miles were below 8:30, 2nd half was nearly as fast as 1st half. I still don't feel quite 100% but I will go with this formula until my medical report confirms what I already know. Right now, I am probably capable of running a half marathon in about 1:47-1:48 so I've got a ways to just to get back to where I was 3 weeks ago but I am headed in the right direction.
Grade:B+/credit/2/distance: 10.0

Nov.22- Planned rest day
Week summary: Distance=30/GPA=21.8/10 credits=2.180
Finished 4 out of 5 planned workouts and managed to meet mileage target in first full week but I've got a long way to go before I can get up to 50 miles/week and I'm a long way from being able to run a 3:30 marathon. Thanksgiving will probably be a cut back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First marathon story

Eugene marathon:
Beautiful course along the Willamette River and through parts of the University of Oregon. It had only one significant hill around 7.5 miles into the race so it’s a good race for a PR. I flew into Portland and got to see both the Pacific coast and the Cascades, both of which were amazing.
Race day: Because of a nerve-wracking traffic jam, I arrived at the starting line with only 5 minutes to spare. My plan was to go out no faster than 9:00 pace then run the final 10K as fast as I could, which would bring me to the finish line in less than 4 hours. I had about 98% of my best stuff and took off slightly faster than I planned (8:45 pace) but I was actually holding back much of the time. Normally, I can tell very early in a run whether it will be a good one or not. Today was a good day. Even though I had never gone nonstop for more than 22 miles, I was sure that I could finish and almost sure that I could break 4 hours. I let out a yell and raised my arms whenever someone cheered for me. This was fun. I came through the halfway mark around 1:55 and actually was thinking about a sub-3:50. I still felt like the tank was about ¾ full at the time. If I had raced a half-marathon instead, I think I would have PRed. Miles 14-16 still were all near 8:45 and I talked with another runner who was also shooting for a sub-4 and had just missed on his first try. With 10 miles to go, the effort was just beginning to take its toll. My pace slowed to near 9:00/mile from mile 16-20. I could have maintained the 8:45 but wanted to remain fairly comfortable. It was the right decision. I focused on getting to that dreaded 20 mile marker in less than 2:58 (last 6.2 in 62 minutes) and according to my GPS, I was at 2:56 and change, still ahead of schedule. Barring disaster, I would break 4 hours with time to spare but the tank was now only a little more than ¼ full. 3:50 had slipped away but maybe I could still make 3:55. I took my last power gel and opened a bag of caffeinated jelly beans. Although I did not hit the wall all of a sudden, it was much harder by the 21st mile. I was now running the best I could and it was only good enough for 9:10-9:15 pace for the next 2.5 miles. Still, most runners on the course seemed to be in worse shape than I was. I probably passed about 3 runners for every one that passed me during this time. The cheering fans continued to give me a boost. By mile 22.5, my body was screaming at me to STOP and my pace dramatically slowed to the 9:50 range. I would have to run the final 4 miles in less than 44 minutes so I could not afford to slow down much beyond this pace. I started taking caffeinated jelly beans, which seemed to help a bit. At each mile marker, I looked down at my GPS and found to my relief that my pace was still fairly steady and just barely below 10:00. The final 2 miles in 24 minutes seemed a lot more manageable than 4 miles in 44 minutes. By mile 25, I started getting occasional stabbing pain in my calf. PLEASE don’t lock up on me now when I am so close. I heard a few people cuss when they literally could not run any more and had to walk it in. Some volunteers were making their way onto the course presumably to pull people off that appeared to be disoriented. They looked at me and said “That’s a good pace. Keep it up.” I basically held my position give or take a few places between miles 23-26. The stabbing pains in my calf continued to come but abated within a few steps. I thought about how far I had come and that I had overcome too much to quit now. I had developed a website and knew that it would be much more inspiring to title it Chronic Fatigue to Marathon Finish rather than Marathon Attempt. I am proud to say that except for the water stations, I did not walk at all and managed to hold onto that 9:50-10:00 pace through mile 26. My GPS had just turned 3:54 at the 26 mile marker so I could afford to walk it in and still make my goal. Pride swelled when I knew that I had a sub-4 in the bag and nothing could stop me now. A sub 3:55 was out of reach and I was running on fumes. Another mile beyond this and I would have bonked for sure. I did not push too hard in the last .2 and about 5 runners passed me but I just focused on maintaining that 10:00 pace to the finish line. One final turn and the FINISH banner was at last within view. I did make a weak effort to kick in the last 100 meters and thought I had a shot at finishing under 3:56. The camera caught me checking my GPS as I crossed the line to find that I came up short but I didn’t care. My official chip time was 3:56:03.
Will I do this again? I’m not going to say never but “not for a long time.” I will focus on shorter races for the remainder of the year.