Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's all mental

As you can see from my last post, my last run sucked.  complete and total train wreck sucked.   I was pretty demoralized afterwards, becuase I was convinced that I had broken something and the marathon training was coming off the tracks.  To compound things, the muscle along the bottom of my foot (plantar fascia) was starting to hurt.  I'd heard numerous horror stories from Noel's runner friends on how plantar fasciatis had sidelined them for prolonged periods of time.  In the best "glass-half-full" tradition, I assumed that my foot was shot and I wasn't going to be able barely able to hobble for weeks.

Noel basically dug me out of ditch on this one.  On the foot front, she had a frozen bottle of water in the freezer and had me do some rolling on the bottle right away and gave me some stretches that I should and shouldn't do to relax the muscles that were making my foot hurt.   By Thursday my foot was feeling relatively normal and I seemed to have gotten past that problem.

I was still pretty worried about the run come Sunday morning.   I was assuming that something horrible would happen when I got out on the trail - somehow last week all of my running ability had been sucked out of me and I was completely screwed.

Noel reminded me that sometimes you just basically have crappy runs, and that there were in fact some very real reasons for last week's anomoly (fasting and heat).  And more importantly, it was going to be cool out that morning and I had eaten and hydrated properly the last couple days.

The run itself was pretty routine.  I felt strong thoughout.  It wasn't easy by any means --- 18 miles likely will never be, but I finished with Dizzee Rascal on the iPod and felt strong.  The weather cooperated alot - it drizzled and stayed in the 60s...even dipping a bit to get almost cold for a few minutes.  Also on Noel's advice I increased my fuel intake to not less than one Jelly Belly Sports Beans packet per hour.

Mentally and physically I felt very good about this run.  I maintained a 10:30 pace which was strong for 18 miles for me.

Finally I capped the whole thing off with an ice cold chocolate mile.  Best recovery drink ever.   Feels good to be back on track.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What a miserable run

So -- yesterday's run sucked.  I'd like to come up with a more sophisticated way to phrase it, but suck really seems to sum it up.   

It sucked pretty much from beginning to end.  The plan was I would run a 3 mile loop at the beginning, 5.5 miles of trail out and then back and the same 3 mile loop at the end.  

When I came out of the first loop I looked at my watch and I was 45 seconds off my usual pace.  At 3 miles in.  At that point I really should have just gotten back in my car and gone home.   The next 11 miles got slower and I struggled back to the start feeling like crap but theoretically ready to do the last three.  I really should have gotten in the car and gone home.   

About a half mile into the last loop, I completely bonked.  If you're not an endurance athlete: 
Bonking is, of course, slang for running out of energy during exercise. It usually happens when the working muscles run low on glycogen, which is the body's limiting fuel source for sustained activity.
Bonking is bad.  It sucks all the life out of you and its pretty darn demoralizing to boot.   Think on your knees trying to find the energy to walk.   After the run, I ate a burger and a milkshake, watched maybe an hour of football and fell asleep somewhere around 5:30 and pretty much slept until the next morning.    My body stopped working somewhere around mile 14 and cashed its chips in for the rest of the weekend right there.  

Fortunately I can pretty much locate all the causes of this disaster. 

  1. I'm a lazy slob and didn't listen to my wife (always a recipe for disaster) and start my run at 6:30 like I should have...instead I slept in and rolled out at 10:45 to start my run at 11:30 (first person to leave a comment on where the sun is during an 11:30 to 3ish run wins a prize)
  2. I didn't eat at all for 25 hours on the proceeding day.
  3. I didn't eat enough during my run.  

So a couple things.  Fasting the day before a 17 mile run, is likely a bad idea.  I clearly didn't pull it off well and I clearly didn't fuel up properly at the all you can eat Chinese place the night before.  Starting the  day of the run with a bowl of oatmeal is clearly not enough fuel for a long run.   Lesson learned - eat regularly the day before and fuel up the morning of.

When it looks like its going to get hot out, and its 64 degrees in the morning, run when its 64.  Don't wait around until its 69 and rising to venture out to the largely shadeless trail to run in the heat as its rising to 85 degrees.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.  

Finally I somehow didn't eat enough food.  I need to crank up the number of calories I am putting into my body during my run.  Somehow I am not disciplining myself to do this ... have to be aiming for ~200 per hour.  

So some days you have good runs and some days you have bad ones.   I'm not going to let this get me down because, I''m pretty sure the fast was not coordinated well with the run.  Also I've done 14 miles at least 6 times before without these problems.   

18 miles next week.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

16 in the Rain

I was awoken at 6 am by pouring rain.  When it's loud enough to stir me from a sleep it's raining pretty hard.  I had pushed the weekend run to Sunday so I was figuring that I was going to have to run in a frog-strangler.   I went back to bed flirting with various scenarios to postpone my run -- I'd do 16 after work on Monday (nothing makes more sense than running until 9:30 at night in the district), I'd do the run after dinner in Edgewater (ditto on late night running in AA Co.) or I'd just blow it off and wait another week (unlike the President of Turkenistan I can't manipulate the calendar and I have increasing increments of runs each week between now and Nov. 7th - there are no spare weeks)

So after a few hours of fitful sleep mulling over various implausible excuses to not drag my butt out and run in the rain, I woke up and went and checked out the weather.

Fortunately the frogs were no longer being strangled, but it was still raining.  The little indoor/outdoor thermometer thing on top of my TV said it was 64 degrees out --- nearly perfect running temp, so I really had no good excuse not to get out on the road.  So I packed the girls up for Hebrew School and started my long run.  

The rain was one of those persistant mists that just keeps blowing a constant spray in your face, but doesn't sting and never really pushes you around.  I suspect it's what it's like to run in Seattle.  

The run itself was pretty good.  I increased the quantity of hills by starting the run at the synagogue and heading over an overpass and up a hill before I got back to the Naval Academy bridge.   The NA Bridge was at mile 4 and by then i was getting into my groove and feeling fairly strong.  I was trying to dose out the energy in a relatively even pace and not dump it all out in the first few miles.  I maintained a roughly 10:10 pace through mile 8.   I turned around and headed back to the beginning, where I promptly lost the satellites on the Garmin and any idea of what kind of pace I was putting up.  

I felt strong throughout the run.  I think I probably averaged around a 10:30 pace for the last 8 miles.   I don't have an exact time for the run, but I didn't feel pooped at the end and feel very ready to put up 17 next week.  

All in all once I was soaked - which was about 5 minutes in - the run was very enjoyable.  Because of the rain, I pretty much had the trail and roads to myself.  I saw maybe 5 runners and 5 bikes - which is astonishing for a fall Sunday morning - and a squad of mids doing PT.  One guy had gotten shelled out that back, but had his buddy running with him entreating him to "keep up the pace."  Always impressive young men.

I felt good when I got home and I got a "Give me a D" "D" A D D Y from Noel and Bekah when I came in.  As always, Team Jones is super supportive.

Here's my course:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good week of training

I had a nice week of training.  Rocked the cross training this week.  Had a nice road bike ride with Noel on Monday from the house to the naval academy golf course.  Being that it was Labor day the roads were pretty empty, making for a nice ride.   Tuesday night I did a nice six mile run from my office down the mall and around the Lincoln Memorial.  Thursday night I jumped on with the MORE MTB riders and did a cross practice/mtb ride over in Fort DuPont.  Fort DuPont is a hidden gem over in Anacostia -- 10 minute ride from the Hill where you can hit some decent trails close to home.  The trails are well maintained and theres some nice swooping up and down some hills.

Other than the two flats and me forgetting to bring a spare or a pump, the ride was great and nice to try to sharpen the bike handling skills in advance of 'cross season starting in a couple of weeks.

With fall starting it looks like we might be in for a prolonged period of nice weather.  I'm going out tomorrow morning to knock out a 16 mile run.   Longest run evah.  I'm optimistic that it'll go well.  More details soon.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A mile a week

I'm doing my darndest to keep true to my training plan.  This week I knocked out 15 miles (up a mile from last week's 14).  I was able to keep a 10:30 pace for the duration of the run.  It's not the 4 hour 40 minute pace I wanted to aim for for the marathon, but it is a sub 5 hour marathon....although considering the cliff that my splits fell off of on the last couple miles of Saturday's run, I might be timing the last few miles of the marathon with a calendar (if I can ever figure out how to display the splits you'll see things going awry).   In fairness to me though, I do seem to run better when I am running with thousands of my friends.   Since there will be 35,000 of my closests friends with me in NYC I will hopefully get a huge boost.

As for the run itself, it wasn't too bad.  I started at the local grocery store on the other side of the Naval Academy bridge.  By doing that I tossed two significant (the bridge) and two more minor hills into the run.  Since I am going to be climbing who knows how many bridges during the marathon, I figured that I should do some hill climbing.     

The first climb over teh bridge wasn't too bad.  Considering I was about 3/4 of a mile into the run this shouldn't have been any surprise.   I ran the rest of the way up to the B&A trail which I've done at least 15 times in the past.  It's a pretty well traveled route and on a beautiful Saturday morning there were tons of bikers, runners and families out traveling the trail.  It was nice to have such beautiful weather to share a good run with my neighbors.

As an aside, leaves are starting to fall already and it's only a matter of time before the trails are littered with beautiful, albeit dangerous, orange and yellow leaves.   The end of summer is upon us.

The duration of the run on the B&A was unremarkable.  I did enjoy listening to Dizzee Rascal a bunch of times along the trail.  Dirtee Disco is a quality running track. 

The run on the way back over the bridge was considerably less fun.  Intellectually I know it wouldn't have been faster walking, but the pathetic way I was trudging up the bridge half hunched over was a bit demoralizing.   I got to the top though and I finished the last 3/4 mile strong and not dead.

I got back to Grauls, downed a bottle of milk chocolate, a ginseng tea, pint of limeade and 4 Enduralites.   I need to keep the salt in otherwise I get a killer headache.  I headed home, cleaned up and took a nap.

All in all a good run, and while I don't know that I would have wanted to do another 11 on Saturday, I think if I had had to I certainly could have.  I'm feeling good that by the time the marathon comes that I will be able to put in 26.2 without it completely killing me.

Below are the details on the run.

As always, you can donate here:  to support my run.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Justin Gimelstob Likes Odds of Completing Marathon - Andy Roddick Does Not -

Ok - I'm not this bad, but there are times when its been tough..

Justin Gimelstob Likes Odds of Completing Marathon - Andy Roddick Does Not - "The highest tennis ranking he attained was No. 63 in 1999. Over his career, he has had 29 cortisone injections. He has a surgically implanted screw in his left foot and, as he explained, he sweats while brushing his teeth. Gimelstob is more likely to cramp up into the fetal position than run 26.2 miles in less than five hours, but those who saw him scratch his way through a 12-year tennis career say his determination will prevail."

I'm confident he can do it. If he's had the commitment to become a professional tennis player he's got to have some serious mental toughness.

Also I'm going to highlight this article next time my wife points out to the spin instructor at 24 Hour Fitness that "I'm a sweater" and asks that the fans be turned on.