Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Edmonton Half Marathon and Training (Weeks 7 & 8)

Well, it's been awhile since I've written anything, mostly due to a much more hectic schedule of Student-Teaching 5 days a week 8:30-3:50, one and final grad class on Tuesday nights, a thesis that hasn't been worked on in over a month, and pounding away 100 plus mile weeks! Either way, no excuses to get in the quality marathon training and posting. First and foremost will be the Canada trip a few weeks ago, then the training sessions that lead up to it and that preceded it to culminate weeks 7 & 8 of my New York City Marathon Training.

Edmonton, Canada.... that's all I have to say about that. Well, I guess I had a race, and I guess I got to wear a U.S. Jersey in what was considered to be an International Exhibition at the half marathon distance. This was a great experience for me to finally test my fitness after being injured over the winter months, and not getting a true gauge of my race fitness, until now. I was planning on racing the AFC Half Marathon, but decided to race Edmonton due to the flatter course, possibly better weather, and an opportunity to wear a US Jersey.

After the hectic ordeal of getting to Canada, going through customs, and not getting a ride to the hotel, I attempted to relax till race day. On race day, the weather was slightly warmer than expected, but the course was awesome! A nice out and back on relatively flat streets, made for a great race. A couple of Kenyans, Ethiopians and 3 Americans consisted of the elite field and for some decent times. Since we where in another country, they had kilometer marks, so I attempted to get 2k splits, but once the race started getting hard and my pace fell off my goal pace of 65 minutes, I started taking 1k splits. I also managed to miss a couple kilometer splits and got a 4k split. The following times are my splits:

[6:21, 6:28, 5:51, 6:12 (24:53-8k), 6:12 (31:06-10k), 12:49, 2:54, (46:50-15k), 3:19, 3:13, 3:05, 3:18, 3:19 (1:03:12-20k), ?:??] Total time: 1:06:28

It didn't go too bad, and I was happy with my performance. Again, it's a great indicator to where I'm at and how I'm progressing towards the Marathon.

Week 7 Training:

Mon - am. 6 miles easy
Tue - am. 4x2 mile at tempo pace (10:53, 10:49, 10:40, 10:42) total: 13 miles / pm. 6 miles easy
Wed - am. 12 miles easy / pm. 6 miles easy
Thur - am. 10 miles easy / pm. 4 miles easy w/4x hill strides
Fri - am. Travel to Edmonton / pm. 6 miles easy
Sat - am. 4 miles easy w/3x strides on the grass
Sun - am. half marathon race. Total: 18 miles / pm. Travel Home

Total: 85 miles

The next day I couldn't believe how sore I was. I was lucky enough to get a massage on Monday after teaching, and the soreness would slowly subside throughout the week with more miles. I was a bit hesitant to do a workout this week, and didn't think I'd be able to finish the planned tempo session. But, the body can prove the mind wrong. The workout was scheduled on Thursday, which was ample time for my quads to stop aching, and the session was 4x1 mile at tempo pace with 1 minute rest, followed by 5 minutes rest, then 3x1 mile at tempo pace. With "only" 7 miles at tempo pace, I still thought I should just do the first 7, and call it. Yet, once the workout started with the help of Kris Houghton and Soloman Kandie (Kenyan), we were able to get it done quite fast... At least, fast for me.

Sunday was another workout in our long run. Again, the temperature crept into some dangerous highs, but we were able to get it done before it got too hot. The long run would have us: warming up for 4 miles, then straight into 4x1 mile repeats at tempo pace/effort, then 60 minutes easy to medium pace, then a 3 mile continuous tempo, and whatever remained of the 22 miler, which was about 1 1/2 miles.

All in all, this week was a little tough as I had to get back into the teaching rhythm and recover from the race along with some workouts. But, I'm feeling strong, and the workouts are transitioning towards more marathon specific workouts without much "speed" oriented work. The only speed work will be done through strides, which I'll be combining both hill strides and flat fast strides. Most of this stuff will be at goal mile pace, or in my case, dream mile pace (4:00 minute mile). This is actually pretty easy as they're done at a distance of less than 200m.

Week 8

Mon - am. 8 miles easy
Tue - am. 10 miles easy / pm. 4 miles easy
Wed - am. 8 miles easy / pm. 10 miles easy
Thur - am. 4x1 mile at tempo, 5 min rest, 3x1 mile at tempo (5:24, 5:13, 5:17, 5:18) (5:14, 5:07, 5:10) total: 12 miles / pm. 8 miles easy
Fri - am. 2 miles dead tired / pm. 12 miles med/easy
Sat - am. 12 miles med
Sun - am. 22 miles w/4x1 miles at tempo, 60 min rest, 3 mile tempo (5:30, 5:25, 5:30, 5:25), (5:32, 5:27, 5:26)

Total: 108

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Edmonton - Canada (Canadian Derby Edmonton Half Marathon)

Well, it's day 2 here in Edmonton and it's been a pretty pleasant ride. There hasn't been too much to talk about after being here for about 24 hours, but it's definitely a nice place. The flights here were fine without incident, and getting a ride to the hotel could be the only adventurous event that occurred since I had no idea which hotel I was going to, and no one was there to pick me up. But, other than that it has been fine compared to the other Americans getting here. My roommate, Joesph Chrilee is another story. His flight arrived at midnight and had no one to get him. Fortunately, he bummed a ride to the hotel, but had to pay for his night. I met up with him at around 11am when he knocked on my hotel door. After I heard about his late night experience of Canada, we went for an easy run on some grass fields. A much different run, from what I experienced yesterday. This was a nice and easy 30 minute pre-race day run with some strides, as oppose to the scavenger hunt run I went on yesterday.

Yesterday, I planned on running by some quintessential Edmontonian landmarks and a few other general spots I might find useful, such as a grocery store and a restaurant. The path I plotted out on google maps seemed simple on the computer screen, but once out on the roads, it was a little more hillier than I'd prefer. Nevertheless, I found what I was looking for and ended up out of the town, across a river and onto some nice rolling trials through the forest. One thing I didn't expect was the abundance of mosquitoes here in Edmonton, and neither did the locals. On the last two runs, which totaled less than 90minutes, I've been bitten 6 times. I figure they haven't had some American blood in a long time...

Well, tomorrow is race day and I'm feeling good, we'll just have to see how good I'm feeling once the gun goes off.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Marathon Training (Week 6)

Boom! Another week in the books. This was also suppose to be a slight down week with two decent workouts, an easy long run, and my first week of student-teaching at the elementary level. Well, the student-teaching started midweek and it was just setting up the classroom and a few parent teacher conferences. Although, it was a bit demanding as my daily routine will have to start even earlier now. Either way, I decided to take this week slightly down and the following week of the race a bit easy as well. I capped the week off with 111 miles and some confidence with those two workouts.

After taking a much needed rest day on Monday after that God Forsaken La Luz trail "race", I had a pretty productive 6 mile tempo run on Tuesday on the river, followed by some rest days, a speed workout on Friday and a medium effort 20 miler on Sunday. The tempo along the river was great, especially since I got to allow my legs some turnover from beating myself up on that trail race. I averaged 5:22 for the distance and got to steeple a few barriers along the way. The mornings here in Albuquerque are starting to cool off and stay cool for a longer duration of the morning. It's either that perception, or that fact that I'm starting earlier... But, summer is winding down, and the beautiful months of fall are approaching, along with the tempered climate. After a few easy days of running and some strides, Friday's session was an exciting one. Getting back on the track is nice, and the track never lies. So the workout was 8 x 1000m with 400m recovery jog. The last time I was on the track I did 1000 meter repeats, so naturally it would be nice to hit them faster. You can really get caught up in time and comparison to other track workouts, which I may have done. However, I had a great workout and felt good for the rest of the week, including the long run, which was done at the river. The long run took place at Alameda, and we headed north into the Bosque trail, which is shaded and has plenty of turns on soft pack dirt. The 20 miler was a nice run to end the week.

Next week is the Edmonton Half marathon, and I'm getting pretty excited for it. I know it's going to be fast, and there'll be plenty of fast guys to hang with. Since the USA uniform arrived on Friday, I'm very anxious to put it on and get after it! Nothing like some friendly competition to get the blood flowing for a PR.

Mon - Off Day
Tue - am. 6 mile tempo (5:20, 5:19, 5:18, 5:25, 5:24, 5:23, 5:14) total: 12 / pm. 8 easy
Wed - am. 8 miles easy / pm. 12 miles med.
Thur - am. 10 miles easy / pm. 5 miles easy w/4x hill strides
Fri - am. Track 8x1000m w/400m jog recovery (3:08, 2:59, 3:00, 2:59, 3:00, 3:00, 2:59, 2:56) total: 11 miles / pm. 10 miles easy
Sat - am. 10 miles easy / pm. 5 miles easy w/5x hill strides
Sun - am. 20 miles med.

Total: 111

Monday, August 8, 2011

Training (Week 5)

After seven more days of running, I've finally finished my highest mileage week ever. Not much excitement occurred this week as I just did mileage, one speed workout, and an uphill race which was incorporated into my long run on sunday. The only speed workout this past week was a fartlek workout at Bullhead park. The usual 5-4-3-2-1 done twice was a nice bit of change from the usual intervals done in the past. Bullhead park is a nice 2 mile loop (1.8 miles to be exact) over wet grass, dirt, and very few bits of pavement. This speed session was done on Wednesday with a pretty decent group of guys. After that workout, the rest of the week was just mileage leading up to the famous La Luz Trail Run on Sunday.

When the Trail Run came around, I was planning on warming up a few miles, then racing the 9 mile up-the-mountain "race", then add on at the top. The race starts at 6000' and climbs up to 10,678'. This was my second year doing it, and it's a very nice thing to be a part of. Kris Houghton won the race, of course, and I have trouble climbing and running over the rock slide but ended up finishing 4th overall. The Dukes cleaned house with a 1-4 finish on the mens side! It was pretty sweet, even though we didn't have our new uniforms yet... Well, once we got some fluids and food in our systems at the top, we added on about 5 miles then headed down the mountain to an after race party, which was very nice with more delicious food and beer with great people. Later that afternoon, I added on 5 more easy miles to shake out the days work, and ended the week with 137 miles! Now begins a slight taper for a very exciting race...

The exciting race was kind of a last minute thing as I've been selected to represent the US at an unofficial USA verse Canada international challenge road race! This will be my first time putting on a USA Jersey and competing on a USA team! The race will be held in Edmonton, Canada, in the Providence of Alberta. The race distance will be a half marathon, and it's suppose to be flat, fast and cool on August 21st. I've checked out the course, and it looks promising! But, what's more promising is the fact that I get that coveted USA jersey. Since this isn't an "official" USA team, I don't get to wait for the elusive brown boxes that arrive on your doorstep full of USA Gear... I just get a pair of shorts and top, but that's all I need to race in!

So, all in all, this has been a great week and now I start to freshen up.

Mon - am. easy 10 / pm. easy 5 w/4xhill strides
Tue - am. easy 10 / pm. easy 10
Wed - am. fartlek 2x 5-4-3-2-1 total:12 / pm. easy 8
Thur - am. easy 12 / pm. easy 8 w/3xhill strides
Fri - am. easy 10 / pm. easy 10
Sat - am. med 12 / pm. easy 8
Sun - am. 17 up La Luz / pm. easy 5

Total: 137