The Halfway Mark, or its all downhill from here? Week 10 report.

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So week 10 is in the books...half way home! Not as good a week as I wanted, cut the midweek 8 miler in half, with zero motivation. However the 4 Yasso 800's on Saturday I handled in the 5:07 to 5:10 range, which I was very pleased with. The long run on Sunday of 17 miles was very good, I handled it well, and my recovery is fine (as I type this at 7pm).

I fueled with gels and shot bloks and that was okay, I prefer more solid stuff, but for portability on race day I may opt for the gels since I can carry more.

The blister I got on the 15 miler last week, has not really fixed itself , right now, its skin is gone and the blister is drained, and I have 2 days off, so hopefully it will toughen up. It was bigger then my band aid blister thing I put on it today so sadly it ripped the blister open when I tried to gently remove it. Once this heals, I am going to take preventive measures in the future. There are some things I can do going forward.

It may be time for a new pair of shoes as well. I was planning on breaking in a new pair around 8 weeks out so I may move that up.

Day 66 is here!

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So today is day 66 of my training program. Why is this significant? Because when I started this 20 week program, the race was 132 days away. 66 is half way there! Kind of daunting at the time, but it seems to have gone by so fast. I have not missed any running during the first half, I have however cut some runs short, for a variety of issues. The total miles I have shorted myself is 5, which I am okay with. The only days I have missed were my weight training days, which were not part of the training program in any event, and I have missed 4 of them.

I am not however, halfway there in mileage, the program has 460 miles total, and I am at 170 through week 9. Week 9 was my first 30 mile week, the next weeks are 32, 30, 28, 22, 29, 27, 39, then 22, 21 and then 35 (race day included).

I have been able to handle my goal pace pretty well, which is pointing towards a 5:30 marathon. The pace is roughly 12:30, my Wednesday and Thursday runs are all about pacing and tempo, with the Saturday run generally about speed and repeats, and the Sunday run being long and slow distance type runs.

I have experimented with a couple of different Galloway Run/Walk options, a 3 minute run and a 1 minute walk seems to work well, recently I have been doing a .35 mile run and a .15 mile walk concept that is basically a 4/2.20 run walk, which is also comfortable and seemingly effective.

Hopefully I handle the second half as well as the first half!

Week 9-- My longest run yet!

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So even when I was in college and actually in shape, I never ran much more then 5-7 miles at a time, and never more then 10 miles, so my two half marathons qualify as my longest runs ever done at age 54 and 55 no less. Well no longer! Yesterday I did my first of 4 long runs of 15+ miles with a 15 miler (17, 18, and 20 are the others).

In addition I was able to set an unofficial PR for the half marathon of 2:47 which is 4 minutes and change faster then my Madison Half Marathon in November 2014.

I ate 5 various power bars along the way making sure my eating coincided with the actual aid stations at the Wisconsin Marathon (roughly every 2 miles), so I would eat and then be able to wash down the remnants at the aid station. It seemed to work, I stuck to about 125 calories and 30 carbs every 30 minutes, which seemed to work quite well, I was strong throughout the run, and did not feel weak from lack of energy at any point. In fact I ran the last 3/4 mile at a nice steady pace.

I am going to try gels for the next long run, since I was really only able to pack 6 bars on board and I really need about 8-9 to get the marathon distance. But that's why you experiment ahead of time. Either that or get a bigger pouch! By the way, I made a rule that even though I was on a treadmill, I only ate what I had in my waist pouch, to simulate actual race conditions, which went well.

I have been using a modification of my regular 3 minute run, 1 minute walk, recommended by the Galloway system and doing a .35 mile run and a .15 mile walk, which is like a 4:00/2:30 run walk sequence. I only did this to break up the boredom of running on a treadmill, but actually find it more comfortable for some reason. I am going to set my Garmin to the 4:2.5 time for the midweek runs in week 10 and see how that goes.

The rest of week 9, my runs on Wednesday and Thursday went very well, (4 miles of tempo, pace and 8 miles of steady pace) leaves me at 27 miles for the week, also my record.

Today I am running in the Round Lake Area Park District's foundation's Annual Frosty 5K, I have gotten age group medals in this race before, although today my legs might not be ready for a sustained effort. My goal is the 33-35 minute range for the day. Medals depend on how many people show up in my age group, if its 3, I finish 3rd. Its 14 degrees for race time at 11am, so that might keep attendance down.

NOTE: PR in the 5K at 34.21... see yesterday's post.

Frosty 5K-- Race Report

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Okay news flash! It was cold out today, 16, according to my Garmin website. I was able to run a 1 minute 15 second PR at 34:21 breaking my old PR set in my last 5K for NICASA, even while debating stopping because I was so damn cold, for the first half of the race. Then my body temp must have gotten to the right point because I felt no cold the rest of the way.

I just missed a medal, finishing 4th in my age group, about 45 seconds behind the 3rd place runner and about 10 minutes behind first and second.

Overall I did not feel any residual problems from my long run the day before, which was nice to know, I loosened up indoors on the soccer field at the sports center with no discomfort, and literally other then incipient frostbite was good the whole way around

Wisconsin Marathon Route

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So I drove up to Kenosha yesterday to drive the route of the marathon jut to get a feel for it. Flat with the potential for tons of wind, hopefully not. I also found this video on the race site, that now makes more sense as I follow it in my mind.

 

Week 8 is all over...12 more to go until race day!

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So week 8 is done and wrapped up, 22 miles, runs of 3.5, 3.5, 7 and 8.25 miles. Today's run was supposed to be longer but I was ran out of food around Mile 5, and since I was so not paying attention to anything this morning, eating wise, by mile 8.25 I was bonking. Not the smartest move in the world.

Overall a good week, dropped a pound so I am down to 221, from 256 in January 2013, I can tell something is going on the last few weeks because clothes that were fitting a few weeks ago, are looser, then a month ago or so.

I am driving up to Kenosha today to recon the Wisconsin Marathon course today. Not so sure if eyeballing it ahead of time is a good idea, but I did get some value out of the Madison Half recon, it paid off to know about the giant hill at mile 8, that was good to be prepared for. I misread the map in Madison and was unaware of the slow uphill to the finish which took some time out of me, so a more diligent recon is needed here.

Week 7-- Slow and Fast

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Despite the traveling to DC this week I had a decent week of training. I got 23 total miles in running with about 10-15 miles of walking in DC and at the convention center. Lots of the miles were long slow distance, which was good.

I also did 4 Yasso 800's as speed work on Sunday, in times of 5:40, 5:32, 5:34, 5:35 with a mile warmup and half mile cool down. Bart Yasso a long time senior manager for Runner's World Magazine and runner of 100's of marathons invented this workout. The thinking is that a few weeks before the Marathon you do 10 x 800 at a steady sustainable pace with a small spread in the time. This would be your projected marathon time based on your fitness, so if I were capable of running 10 of these (I am not right now) with a about a 2 minute break in between them, my likely finish time would be in the range of a 5:30 to 5:40 marathon.

So on to week 8 which is slightly altered, I am going to bring my tempo run up to Tuesday, since I have a speaking engagement in Barrington at 8am in the morning on Wednesday, its also a 13.1 run on the weekend, that I call test race. I am going to mimic all the fueling and the hydration needs as well as the clothing choices I have for the marathon. Testing out a few different outfits depending on race day weather, so I can follow the old adage "nothing new on race day".

Week 8 will have 27 miles of running, which will be my biggest week yet in terms of volume, but still in line with no more then a 15% increase in mileage from week to week.

Good Long Run Today

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Had a nice solid 2 hours on a treadmill today, ran pretty well throughout. Tried a GU 100 calorie vanilla bean gel as my 40 minute fuel, which was not bad. Doing speed work tomorrow of 3 miles which will bring the weeks total to 23 miles.

Week 6 and Parts of Week 7

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Was traveling most of week 7 to DC, so the week was chaotic in terms of time and ability to run, I hit all the workouts, jut not in the exact sequence that was planned. I also threw in about 9 miles of walking around the National Mall in between congressional appointments on Wednesday as well.

So Week 6 was 21 miles, the only thing that happened here of note, was since there was a blizzard, on Sunday morning when I was going to do my long run before flying to DC, I had to snow blow to get to gym and had to cut the long run in half for time constraints. So I did the second part of the run in the DC hotel gym I stayed at. Had a really nice set of treadmills, although initially I selected the one that was defective, out of 18 empty ones no less.

Week 7 is currently at 11 miles, with a 9 miler and a 3 miles of Yasso 800's on tap for this weekend. Overall I am feeling pretty good, my legs have been handling the mileage very comfortably. I must stay walking 9 miles in dress shoes did not help my feet much. But even they have recovered.

Some positive reinforcement from people at the conference who I had mostly not seen since the summer at the last conference on my weight loss, which was nice to hear.

I was also able to check off a bunch of X's on my chart, still only have 2 missed days so far, and both those were weight training days, and I really have only 4 lousy runs with just 2 that I cut short because I was just unable to go, mostly mental boredom on the treadmill as I look back at my run logs.

So 28 runs scheduled with 4 problems, to date I have run 112 miles on this program, and I am going to be ramping up the mileage going forward, 6 of the next 8 weeks have significant long runs in them to get me to the aerobic level I need. The long runs are 14, 13.1, 17, 17, 18 and 10.

Week 5 Complete

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Other then missing my optional Friday weightlifting because I was at work early and then in the city for the night, everything else went fine. I hit all my runs and got the planned distance for the week with no hassle. The only blip was that my planned run in Chicago was about a mile and a half shorter then I planned because of two things, the first was the my route out and around was Navy Pier was blocked because of construction and then on the other side of Solider field was the course for the F^3 Half Marathon, which I avoided. I added the missing distance to my slow recovery run this morning, with not issues.

Week 5-- Runs of 6, 3, 7.5 and 4.5 
Total distance 21 miles.

After struggling last week it felt good to be able to handle the mileage this week, as well as running parts of the Chicago marathon course.

Week 5-- Midweek Report

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 So two good runs so far this week, did a nice tempo run after work yesterday, and while for some reason, the treadmill said 6 miles the Garmin said 5.85 miles, it was a good workout, had no issues, and ran the 3:1 Galloway the whole way.

This morning I was up extremely early even for me and ran a slow 3 miles at 3:1 with just some mild tightness in the upper thighs for the first mile while I warmed up, I ran the second mile harder and then ran the last one slightly slower.

Going to be in Chicago overnight on Friday, so I am going to run along the lake shore which I am looking forward to as well as the last 2 miles and the first mile of the Chicago marathon, so that's something to look forward to.

Week 4 Review-- Struggles

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Looking back on the week virtually every run was a struggle, each had different struggles, but the interesting thing is when I think about the run, and my perspective after each run a few hours later was that they were good, I had limited soreness, and very little to zero discomfort.

But as I think about it now, I realize I had to push myself motivationally each time to finish. Not sure what all this is about, but its an interesting take on the process.

Completed weeks
Week 1- 18 miles (8 mile long run)
Week 2- 19 miles (9 mile long run) (3 miles less then it should have been)
Week 3- 16 miles (6 mile long run) (2 miles less then it should have been)
Week 4- 22.5 miles (11 mile long run) (1.5 miles less then it should have been)

Future weeks
Week 5- 21 miles with a 9 mile long run (slight change in distance because I will be in Chicago on the weekend)
Week 6- 24 miles, with Saturday speed work and a 9 mile long run. This may be rearranged a bit since I am traveling to DC on Sunday for the week and my schedule might be messy.
Week 7- 27 miles, 2 runs will be in DC, hopefully outdoors! Long run is 13 miles.
Week 8- 28 miles with potentially a half marathon that day, if I can find one.
Week 9- 31 miles with a 15 mile long run (mixed in with the Frosty Footrace 5K)

Week 4 Saturday Run

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Ran outdoors today for the first time in this training program, its was 38 out and windy (17mph), but I went for it anyway. Thinking that whatever I did not get in today I would do on Sunday. As it turns out I had to run about half the course in the streets, so I did one lap of 3 miles (scheduled for 11) and packed it in. Since I was scheduled for 3 tomorrow, I will do the long run on the treadmill.

It was nice to run outdoors, it was hard to get the cadence up with all the ice on the paved trail, and then I was just plain careful on the roads. But overall it was good fun. I even brought my selfie stick to capture the fun!

Good Solid Run Today!

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Did 5 miles in under 60 minutes (59:31) which is slightly under my goal pace, I also worked on my cadence. The optimal cadence (foot strikes) is 180 per minute, I have been hovering in the mid 160's for a long time. This week I have focused on faster turnover and running more upright. The optimal turnover allows you to be more efficient as a runner, with your foot strike more under you,(so I have read). Anyway, felt very comfortable throughout!

Week 4 Underway!

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Week 4 is well underway, I rocked Monday, which of course was a rest day! I rested to the tune of 3,064 total steps for the day, followed by extensive stretching out on the couch watching football. This morning I did my usual upper body workout at the gym, with no difficulties, worked on the contracting phase of the movement, being slow and under control. I could feel the move in the muscle quite well, which was the goal.

Tomorrow and Thursday I have some running to do, 3 miles at speed and 6 miles of tempo running. Looking further ahead there is a likelihood that the weather may be barely decent enough to run outdoors on one of the weekend days, which would be nice!