Just read an excellent article on marathon race strategy

Some of the things that this article listed, that I think can help me:

1.  Do not bank time.  This equals disaster.

2.  Take in as much liquid carbohydrates as you can in the first half.

3.  Start 20 seconds per mile, slower, for the first 3-4 miles.

There is a lot more, so I’ll have to dissect this when I have more time.

Coming back

Good news.  I’m back.  It was one week ago, yesterday, that I entered the post “Going down”.

It started off with a runny nose, congestion, then progressed into a chest cold? or deep asthma?  I’m not sure.  Either way, it was in my chest.  I was nervous.  I knew that I could stop training and get better within two weeks, or keep running and either:

a)  Get better


b) Get so sick that I remained so through the Saint George Marathon

But here I am, 8 days out from the first day I noticed symptoms.  I have logged 50 miles since that day and here I am, Thursday morning, feeling like I’m at 95 percent, physically (this does not account for the hamstring issue I have been battling all season).

There was even a point when I wondered if I was battling the beginnings of pneumonia.  But I’ve bounced back, without losing miles.  I may have lost some training, due to the fact that I ran super-easy.  No fast running.  I did throw down a 20 miler for my last peak mileage run, but that’s about it.

Here I am on the other side.  Healthy.  Chances are I’ll remain healthy for a couple of more weeks until SGM (knock on wooden trees on trails).  I don’t know that I can run through everything, but this was the first time I took a chance and pushed through (gently, albeit), when I was pretty darn sick.  I would not do this with pneumonia.


Yup.  I was right.  I’ve gone through a couple of days of no energy (ran 5, anyway, yesterday).  Had my clothes all ready to go, this morning, but stepped outside to feel the air.  Too cold for how I feel.  It was around 45 degrees, which is nothing for cold running, but too risky for my symptoms.

So I’ve got 20 miles for the week.  Decent, but a long run is supposed to happen, tomorrow.  Supposed to go 20-22 miles.  Heart rate is a bit high, which I assume means my body is fighting.

Will have to take this hour by hour, in regard to tomorrow’s plans.

I have worked very hard to get into running shape, this year, after dealing with pneumonia.  Can’t afford to lose my fitness, but can’t afford to get sick, either.

This is a fine line.

Nathan finds his marathon pace…and not a moment too soon

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 2.16.42 PM

I knew this was a big run.  This was a run that would either tell me that the marathon was going to break me, or that I’d be able to finish with a decent time.

Now I’m not one for counting my chickens before they hatch (I am, however, adept at making sure I get the full 12 wings when ordering from Wingnutz), but I’m feeling really good about Saturday’s run.

Here’s why:

1.  Even Steven
I managed to have enough self-control, to not just blast off and deplete my resources.  My goal was to keep a 9 minute pace and just “see how it goes”.  My first 11 miles were (9:09, 9:05, 9:01, 9:09, 9:11, 9:12, 9:06, 9:13, 9:07, 9:07, 8:52)…pretty much averaging around 9 minute miles.  This afforded me the energy that I needed, to basically keep that pace (until miles 18 and on- where I clearly break down.)

2.  Mindset
I read an excellent article on keeping your mind focused and relaxed and willing to accept, even invite the pain that inevitably comes along with long or intense runs.  During Saturday’s 20 miles, I tried this out.  When my left knee started to hurt (keeping in mind, I have a history of IT Band Syndrome), I didn’t get afraid.  I decided that this pain was ok, not something to get nervous about.  Within minutes, it was gone.  Each subsequent pain was dealt with in the same way.  I need to remember to read this article before the Saint George Marathon in October.

3.  Sticking to the plan
Clothes:  The night before, my clothes were laid out, ready to go, to ensure a timely departure- thus more hours run at cooler temperatures.

Food/drink:  I ate a bagel with peanut butter.  It was…fine.  I also had most of a banana (it was too soft at the end, so I threw the rest out.)  I drank some water and headed out.  I drank as often as possible.  I hit up Will’s Pit Stop for a drink of water on the way up to the canyon (where I turned around after 10 miles) –this was the only place I stopped my watch, due to how long it takes to get my water and what I need– and on the way back, got another drink of water, plus bought a Gatorade from the same place.  This turned out to be smart.  I was running on fumes by the time I got home.

When I finished my run (and as soon as I was able) I drove down to 7-11 and bought a 20 lbs bag of ice and chocolate milk.  I sat in my ice bath for about 10 minutes, studying my Strava pacing and drank down the chocolate milk, plus some Propel.

Having proper clothing ready to go, eating and drinking well, plus taking about an hour for myself to “get right” with the world, post long run, turns out to be essential.  On Sunday I woke up with pretty darn strong and relaxed muscles.  It will be interesting to see if adding the 6.2 miles at the end of the marathon changes this.

All in all, this was a very important run.  It boosted my confidence (after having a pretty rough 13 and 17 mile run, earlier in the month) and gave me a chance to test my overall strength.

Next week:  I’m hoping to peak at 22 miles on Saturday.  It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.  I’m probably pushing a little too much, too fast (breaking the 10% rule), but if I need to, I’ll just call of the balance of whatever I am able to do.  I can always have someone pick me up.  Right?

A decent, not-bad run

I woke up at 6 am, realizing that my alarm’s 6:15 am would be a hard sell.  So I went back to sleep and decided that tonight or tomorrow seemed like a better time to run.

Then, at 6:45 am, I gave in, to habit, and started getting into my shorts and shoes.

Mile 1:  0:9:04:  The first few steps realized some pain in my right foot, on the inside.  Probably from the pokey rocks that went through my already worn and fading Altra Instinct 1.5’s.  But I plodded on, immediately deciding that today was a recovery day.

Mile 2:  0:8:33:  Recovery from what?  I did no long run this weekend.  I start to think about this and realized that I was feeding myself a line, so that I wouldn’t have to run too hard.  Once I called myself on it, I stepped it up.

Mile 3:  0:8:02:  Once I realized that I was running 8’s, I decided that I was comfortable.  I wasn’t panicking over the pace, or whether I’d have energy for later.  Things were running smoothly.

Mile 4:  0:7:26:  This is where it got interesting.  I decided to sort of go for broke and just open it up, see what the engine could do.  I noticed that I wasn’t doing my typical short, gaspy breaths (always breathing on my right foot’s drop).  I had smooth, deep breaths.  It occurred to me that food and nutrition were not the most important thing for fueling a run.  It’s oxygen.  So without exaggerating, I took in good, deep breaths.  By taking note of the trail, my watch and my energy, I realized that today might be the day to push a little harder on my last mile.

Mile 5:  0:7:03:  My moment of truth.  I try not to open my stride too much (left hamstring issue), but instead quicken my turnover.  My current pace on the Suunto shows that, no doubt, I’ve sped up.  Every time I look at my watch I’m around a 7 to 7:10 minute per mile pace.  Feeling good.  I know that I’m definitely in good shape for today’s run.  It occurs to me that, if I’d decided to not run, I would not be enjoying some of my fastest splits in a long time.

When the run is over, I wonder if I can get to where I can run 5 miles, in 7’s.  That would be great.  If I could do that…