Thursday, October 23, 2014

MCM 2014 Prep and Taper Madness

After months of training,  I find it hard to believe that I am 3 days away from the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.     I am happy to say that I head into race day healthy and confident in my training campaign.   I am well into the taper process and I find myself worried about the craziest things as I think about race day.

My main taper fixation is equipment failure.   Specifically, I worry that I switched to new shoes to close to race day.   I primarily trained in Adidas adiZero Tempo 5 and recently, like last week, switched to Adidas adiZero Tempo 6's.   These shoes are very similar, so my main worry is that I don't have them broken-in appropriately for the race.  Along with the shoes, I am stressing about what to wear.  I know that sounds like a 15 year old girl, but it is a major issue.  Historically I over dress for races, my goal for this race is be dressed on the cool side.  The weather forecast should be perfect for shorts and short sleeve shirts.   My last equipment worry is about hydration and a decision to carry a camelbak or not.  I am confident that all these worries will go away once the race starts. 

My race day pace plan is pretty simple:   Start out with a 9:45 pace and move towards a 9:00min pace.   Overall goal is to finish ~4:15hrs.   I am feeling strong and well trained, just not fast enough to break 4:00hrs on this race.

I have one more shake-out run planned and then the marathon weekend will be here.  My marathon weekend plan is coming together.    The coordination of Marathon weekends are exciting and fun,  but stressful because of all the details of the race and travel logistics.  We will travel to Washington, DC on Friday night.  We plan to spend time as a family and hit the Race Expo on Saturday.   Sunday race morning will be exciting and I plan to connect with other runners before the start.   I am always excited to see friends and family in the crowd supporting me during the race.  Post race will be busy getting food and traveling home.  

I am excited to Run With the Marines again, and complete my 5th Marathon.    I wish a good race to all the runners this weekend, I will see you out there. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Officially Grinding my way through

The intensity of marathon training comes to a peak with increased fatigue and limited patience for life pressures.   The training novelty wears off and you find yourself in the hardest part of the training cycle, I call this period The Grind.   This is a period when you are committed and so deep into the training process that you have no option but grind out workouts and deal with life.

The Grind sneaks up on you even though you can forecast it like clock work in your training plan 6 weeks from race day.   Your friends are tired of hearing about the long runs, fueling preferences and new running gear.  Your family is struggling with the need for training runs to consume family time.  Although you are excited about the upcoming event, you have less patience for small things, frustrated when things just don't line up right, and for some reason always hungry.

I am no expert at effectively managing The Grind, but I do have a strategy that I am working on:

  • Accept it - You know that this is the part of the training plan that this tests your commitment, dedication and support system.  The long runs and speed work are pushing your physically which then makes everything else harder.    Ideally your family, friends and co-workers understand the situation and provide you a little bit of grace and space.  You also need to be aware and accept that things may take more effort or seem a bit more rough than usual.  Try to be flexible and aware of your mood.
  • Get sleep - The best thing to help recovery is sleep.  This helps the body and the mind prepare for the next workout and next day at the office.   Get as much sleep while in the Grind as possible to help the recovery and coping process.
  • This too will end -  The Grind wont last forever and is the precursor to the Taper. The Taper enables your body to recover for the final event with reduced training volume.   Use the Taper as a prize at the end of the Grind and look forward to the rest and free time.

I am in the second week of The Grind for this training cycle.  I am relieved to say that things seem to be headed in the right direction.   I have one more long run remaining before I start the Taper.   I feel strong and confident in my training and looking forward to race day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

2014 Marine Corps Marathon Run Dedication and Goals

The completion of the first 20+ mile run of my training program marks the start of crunch time for the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.  The race is a few weeks and a couple long runs away.  This is the perfect time for me to reaffirm my goals and dedicate this year’s race.

I am happy to announce that I dedicate my efforts in the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon to Reverend Jennifer Durant.   Jennifer is the Associate Rector at the Church of Our Saviour in Charlottesville, VA.  I met Jennifer in 2011 when she joined the church clergy.   Soon after joining our church, Jennifer announced her diagnosis and started her battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).    I have seen first hand the impact of this disease on her and her family and the courage required to fight it.  I am impressed with Jennifer's openness about her battle, her commitment to maintain connections in the church and community, and her drive to continue her ministry.  These same attributes are required to complete a marathon and I will use Jennifer’s example as inspiration as I run this year.  

Jennifer and her supporters formed Team Durant to create awareness and raise money for the battle against ALS.  I am excited to run this race in support of Jennifer and Team Durant.  Other members of Team Durant plan to participate in the Richmond Walk To Defeat ALS the same weekend as The Marine Corps Marathon.   I encourage you to support Jennifer and others battle ALS, please visit Team Durant Funding Page and ALS Association to learn more about how you can help. 

On a personal record (PR) note, my goal for this race is to improve on my time from last year and target 4:15 completion time with a strong confident effort throughout the race.  I continue to chase a sub-4 Hour PR, however I think I am one training cycle and flatter course away from obtaining it.   I completed my first 20+ mile run this past weekend.  I successfully mentally broke the run down into 5 mile blocks and felt strong even after the 15 Mile mark.   With continued focus and dedication to my training plan I expect that I will achieve my goals for this race.  Register for updates on with MCM Runner Broadcast Service if you are interested in following me during the race.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WSJ Article: Intensity over endurance

An interesting article from The Wall Street Journal on the Mile vs Marathon popularity and effectiveness.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Training Setback and Recovery

After a week of travel, active training, hectic home life schedule and new germs from kids back at school I experienced the first training plan setback which prevented the completion of the first 20+ Mile run.   Due to scheduling conflicts,  I planned to switch my long run to Sun and do a mid distance run on Sat.   I figured this would work out, but Sat afternoon I started to feel weak and developed a sore throat.   Even with a good evenings rest,  I woke up on Sun morning for the run just not feeling right and decided to take a rest day.   I quickly found myself in the middle of self doubt,  shattered confidence in the training plan and stressed about reworking my plan.  After grappling with the mental trauma of missing my long run for about 15mins,  I enjoyed a couple more hours of sleep and hoped for a quick recovery. I luckily found that the extra rest helped and by Monday I noticed a marked improvement from Sunday morning.   I reworked my running plan to move my 20+ Mile runs by a week and moved a recovery week.   I am hopeful that a 2 Week Taper will be enough to set me up for the race.

I am still positive about my running and excited about the race.   I am entering the phase of training when the body starts to respond to the training and your tired but energized.  I look forward to tackling my 20 mile run this weekend.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Interesting video on the science of distance running

This YouTube video  provides a basic overview of the evolution of man and the science behind our distance running abilities.  Take a break and enjoy a few minutes packed with knowledge.