Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On My Way to Berlin

This is it! I’m on my way to Berlin to race the marathon. Finally! I have been wanting to do this race for a long time now, and I am excited to get out on the roads to see if I have another pr in me in my 21st marathon. I have been racing marathons now for 10 years, and each race brought its own challenges. Even though Berlin is known to be the fastest course in the world, I do expect the race this weekend to be extremely hard. 

I plan to once again be pretty ambitious with my pace, and get towed along to a sub 2:10. I have made this same attempt many times now, and each time I have failed. Sometimes my failures resulted in pr’s; I’ve run 2:11 4 times after going out on 2:08-2:10 pace. Other times I have suffered over the 2nd half and fade to 2:17s, 2:18s, and once a DNF. I am proud of all the races I have finished regardless of whether I met my goals or not. But knowing that I have come so close is what keeps driving me to try again, and hope that one of these race will result in a spectacular result.

My pace group with have 2 other athletes attempting to crack the sub 2:10 barrier, with 2 rabbits taking us through 20k and 30k as best as they can. Over the past 7 weeks I have changed my GPS watch to track my kilometer splits rather than miles to get myself to learn better pacing over those intervals. I have also been doing many of my workouts on a flat route down in Camp Verde 50 miles south of Flagstaff and almost 4000ft lower. This has resulted in many great workouts, much better than I’ve had in a while, which have indicated to me that I am prepared to run a sub 2:10 marathon.

Mentally I am ready to go and I am confident that my legs will cooperate. I have trained them well for this. Now, all the work leading into the race is done and all I have left to do is wait for my flight to board. I am sitting and writing this in Phoenix awaiting my delayed flight to London where I’ll connect to Berlin. Just a 9 1/2 hour flight, followed by 2 hours of waiting, then another 2 hour flight, and I’ll arrive at 8pm local time in Berlin. By then I’ll be eager to get my race bib, get a quick run on the treadmill, and then get to bed. I am very excited to get this started.

Below is a list of the top competitors in Berlin. A lot of guys at 2:06 and under. Its going to be fast! See you in Berlin!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Highs and Lows of Marathon Training

As I am entering my final 3 weeks of marathon prep for the BMW Berlin Marathon, I am excited that the day is almost here. Soon I will be racing my first International World Marathon Major. I will be departing from Flagstaff on Sept. 21st and arrive in Berlin 20 hours later on the 22nd. The race will be on the 25th, and I will return on the 26th. So, this will be quite a short business trip with my intent only being on running fast. I will be shooting for a personal best (under 2:11:30), and given the history of this course, that should be attainable.

The biggest difficulty I find in any marathon build-up is the inconsistency in my workouts. I generally always have great long runs, which is what helps to build my confidence being a marathon specialist. However, my interval and tempo workouts and even my races leading up to marathon are very inconsistent and often lackluster. I did have some good workouts here and there over the past 8 weeks; 2 x 6 miles in 5:12/mile, 8 x 2k in 5:00/mile. However, with the combination of running up to 140 miles while trying to hit quality workouts each week, my performances at the races I have done over the last 2 weeks really suffered.

Two weeks ago I ran the AFC Half Marathon in San Diego, where my goal was to run about a 1:04:00 half, which would have contended for the win. Unfortunately, my legs and my body said 'No F*#@ing Way, Man!' and instead I struggled through a tough tempo run, finishing up in 1:08:27. Then, after two weeks of trying to get my legs to feel good again, I raced the US 20k Champs this weekend and again performed a lot worse than my expectations. There were definitely a few more positive aspects that I am able to take away from the 20k compared to AFC, but overall the race was not one to write home about.

Finishing up at the US 20k

Anyway that is marathon training for me in a nutshell. High mileage and low quality performances. All of which is part of a well calculated equation to run well for the marathon. Berlin is going to be my 21st marathon, so even with these poor results over the past couple of weeks my confidence is unwavering. All of my previous marathon experience has shown me that as long as I put in the work, the big race at the end of the training cycle will be great. And for me that is all that matters. Trusting that the process will yield great results is the key to my marathon training.