Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Battle

Well I got out and ran today, but it was another struggle. Things were even worse than two days ago. I felt sore again at the start, but hoped it would go away like it did during the last run. I headed out along Kelly Drive for a 5 mile run.

Early on, it was pretty clear I wasn't going to feel better during this run. I started off by running funny due to the soreness. I did develop a little smoother gait, although I'd imagine it wasn't very efficient and I'm favoring one side.

A mile into the run, I just considered throwing in the towel. I decided not to and opted to deal with the soreness. When I ran the other day, I wore looser fitting clothes. Today, they were tighter and rubbing against the infected area. That sure didn't help. I'll stick to wearing looser clothes in the future though.

The soreness continued, but I forced myself to keep going. I committed to getting to the turnaround point. I figured I'd walk home from there if needed. I eventually got there and was relieved.

Coming back, there was actually quite a bit of headwind. That felt good, but was tough to run against. Even though it was mid afternoon, the temperature was in the mid 70s. Perfect for a run.

If only my body felt perfect. I continued to struggle through the run. I had slowed down more than the other day (around 8 minute miles) and thus my lungs weren't sore. By the time I hit mile 4, my legs were becoming sore though. My infected area certainly wasn't getting any better either.

It wasn't easy, but it was a great relief to finish. Things didn't get better after stopping though. I became even sorer and more tight. I struggled to walk the several blocks home. I had to lay down immediately. After some rest, I felt much better.

I'm really not sure if I can continue running though. I'll give it a go again, but if most days are going to be like this, I might be better of just quitting until I'm 100% healed. I'd lose a lot of fitness that way, but it might be the best and possibly only option. Today was such a struggle. If nothing else, I definitely will have to run less miles than I planned to. I'm not taking these miles on as easily as I thought I would and of course the infection isn't helping that.

I might try to get out again and run before work on Friday. We'll see how I feel in the morning. I work a long 1 PM to close shift, so I don't want to mess anything up before the shift. For now, I just have to take it day by day.

5 miles - 40:04 (8:01 pace)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back At It

I knew after my marathon, it might be awhile before I ran again. It's now been over a month and I finally got back into it. I've been fighting and infection for weeks. While I'm still not healed completely, I've been much better over the last week or so.

I actually was kind of sore as I headed out the door. I've felt much better at other times, but decided to give it a go anyway. Of course, I went out when it was about 85 degrees. That didn't make things easy.

I was sore walking over to Lloyd Hall. Then to add to the frustration, I couldn't get a satellite signal. Finally, I started running anyways. I picked up a signal after about a tenth of a mile.

Early on, I was a little stiff. I ran about what used to be comfortable pace for a three mile run. Although my legs were rusty, they felt pretty good after half a mile. The small downhill portions of the Schuykill Banks loop were a bit uncomfortable.

I wasn't running hard, but early on, my upper chest started to get sore. My pace was about what I used to run on an easy day, and perhaps a little faster than I should have gone. My lungs had trouble taking in enough air. The humidity probably didn't help either.

It was good to see I still had my speed. I lost it some, but not as much as I figured. I was still blowing by a lot of people and that felt good.

The last mile was a little tough. I certainly have to get my stamina back up. My legs and body did tire a little, but it was still my lungs that were holding me back. I hope they adapt quickly.

It felt good to finally get out there. I was pleased that I was no sorer than I had been before the run. I don't think I bothered the infection in any way. I might not get back on track right away, but I should at least be able to get some solid base mileage going. It feels so good to run again. I just wish I was 100%.

I haven't changed my goal of qualifying for Boston in the fall. That said, I'm simply taking it one day at a time. I'm not going to rush back into things after a month off. I'm going to try running Wednesday this week. I'll definitely shoot for 4 miles and might even up it to 5 miles. I'll try to run in the cooler morning weather though.

3 miles - 22:56 (7:39 pace)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Still Chasing Boston

Saturday was my second attempt at the marathon distance. I ran the Run for the Red Marathon in the Poconos. I improved my time by over half an hour from my fall marathon, but still missed qualifying for Boston by about three and a half minutes. I ran it in 3:14:31.

The weather was pretty cool at the start, but actually quite ideal for a marathon. I've been fortunate to have great weather for both of my first two marathons. It was in the upper 40s to start and the low 60s at the finish. I debated wearing a singlet, but it was just too cool for that at the start. Instead, I wore my bright yellow City Sports shirt. After a few miles, I did wish I had the singlet.

The start of the course has some up and down, but overall was a relatively flat loop. I started off too fast in my half marathon two months ago, but this time it was just right. The first mile was easy and I hit right on my goal marathon pace. I was pretty consistent through the first few miles.

Usually my legs really come around at about mile 3. That didn't happen this time though. They weren't awful, but not sharp either. I knew having a good race and qualifying for Boston would be difficult at that point.

I just stayed with the game plan. My goal was to hit mile 18 around a 7:10 per mile pace, then push for a few miles and finally hang on in the last couple. I visualized doing just that several times, including the night before. We drove the course that day before, so I had a good idea of its layout.

Even though I didn't feel great, I kept on going. I wasn't working hard and was trying to hold back, particularly on the downhills. I stopped at most of the water stations and usually took Gatorade. After awhile, I got sick of it though.

Quite a few people passed me on the downhills, especially the steep one out of Mt. Pocono. Following that section, around mile 8, it was rolling hills, but still downhill. I cruised along. I ran with an Asian guy for awhile and then passed him. I hit mile 10 just a few seconds under a 7:10 pace. I was very consistent.

I passed my parents a couple times throughout the run. Once, was at the water station past the halfway point. I got mad that they were taking pictures after I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, rather than before. Really, I was mad that I wasn't running better. I was running the way I wanted, but just didn't feel as strong as I wanted. My times were at least consistent though.

I kept telling myself to stay consistent. I knew that would be the key to getting my Boston Qualifier. I hit mile 15 almost perfectly under a 7:10 pace as well. I was very consistent up to that point. My watch was actually about .05 miles ahead throughout the race. That was kind of frustrating. Luckily, I brought a pace chart.

Somewhere around mile 15, I started getting side stitches. That caused me to slow down and take it easy for awhile. I ate some more Sport Beans. They seemed to help some, but didn't matter much at the end when I needed them.

I caught up to another Asian guy that had passed me early. I passed him and the first Asian guy (who had passed me again). I tried to hang with the second guy for awhile, because I thought it would be helpful to run with someone. He was just going too slow though. As I approached mile 18, I saw that that mile's pace was a 7:21. I panicked that I was falling too fast and then pushed hard. That was a mistake and I was really starting to fall away after that point. The next rest stop had an orange. I figured that I might as well try that. I recovered a little.

Since I knew I couldn't pick up the pace, I decided to just try to worry about getting to mile 20 without falling off. My pace definitely started to slide in those next two miles. I dropped down to 7:37 and 7:39. I knew at this point that I was pretty much cooked. I was still under goal pace, but slipping away fast. I needed a quick recovery, or I had no hope. I expected my pace to drop some, but I was thinking it would be more like into the 7:25 range and it wouldn't happen until around mile 23.

Making things even more difficult, there were some fairly steep hills at miles 21 and 23. Some folks were even walking up them. I was still strong enough to run them, but only at a snail's pace. I had dropped off to 8 minute miles at that point. I was just trying to survive and finish at that point. I walked during my first marathon and didn't want to do so during this one.

It was funny because I noticed there were only three miles to go. Just an easy 5K left. The problem was three miles didn't sound very easy at that point. It was hard to even get myself to just focus on the next mile, as I often do during training. It is amazing though, even as slow I was going, I was passing about as many people as were passing me. Not many people were flying that late in the race.

It was also much easier to take that I'd fall short of my goal, because I knew it was over with quite a few miles left to go. I might've been able to push a little harder down the stretch, but I wouldn't have been able to shave more than a minute off my overall time anyways. More likely, I would've just fallen apart even more. Somehow, I have to figure out how to break through the wall.

I sort of at least got to enjoy the last few miles. My legs actually didn't get too sore until around mile 23. I just cruised along as much as I could. As I headed through Stroudsburg, it was getting pretty hot. I did refuse water at the final water stop though. That was within the final mile. There were a couple of annoying things about the finish. First, it was over a half mile still left in the race when I entered the high school. Second, it finished on school's track, which was in the far back of the campus.

It was actually right around the time that I entered the school when Boston was officially out of the question. I could almost see the finish at that point. I stopped and posed for some picture as I saw my dad when I entered the track. I though the finish was at the back of the track. It finished right at the start finish line. I had to run nearly a full lap around the track and wanted to punch someone at that point.

When I saw the clock, I knew I had to make it under 3:15. I sprinted pretty hard out of the final turn. I put my hands up at the finish too, even though I was disappointed. I figured I'd try to enjoy the moment as much as I could, even though it wasn't what I had hoped for.

I'm not overly disappointed, but obviously not thrilled with the outcome. It is tough when you think back to all the training, all the hard work you put. The day when it was 17 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like 5 degrees. The week where we had the worst blizzards in years and yet I still managed to put in 50 mile weeks. All those cold days all winter when I was out while everyone else was indoors. The rainy and cold day where I was forced to run my 23 miler. The two days that were so hot and humid that I couldn't even finish those runs. I'm sure many of the people in front of me were some of the few that were actually out on those days too. It has now been over 850 miles since I embarked on training for this marathon and to come up three and a half minutes short of your goal and dreams is just tough.

There will certainly be other chances, but it is going to be difficult to make it to Boston next year. There are no more nearby spring marathons that I can try. I'd love a summer marathon, but those only exist very far north. With Boston registration filling up so early last year, I have to get in an early fall marathon. I might have to run the Lehigh Valley one on September 12th. That follows the canal path that I've run on. I wasn't looking forward to running it. It will be one of my few options though, as I want to get one done before Chicago, which is October 10th.

Add to the mix that I had some health issues that just cropped up before the race and I might not even have a chance to start a fall marathon. For now, I'll just take it day by day and see where it heads. If I do get to run in the fall, I want to run a 26 miler and another 20 miler at pace during my training. I can't imagine negative splitting a race, but I'm going to have to try doing that next marathon. Perhaps there is no such thing as holding back too much at this distance. I clearly need to try something different because I fell off so bad at the end of each of my first two marathons.

Nevertheless, it has been an incredible ride and such a great year. I was struggling to just finish 2 miles at this time last year and now I'm on the cusp of Boston. In an August 5K, I was 68th out of about 200. In this marathon, I was 75th out of 665. That's quite the progress that I've made along the way. I ran that 5K at a 7:18 pace and this marathon at a 7:25 pace. I am grateful for what I accomplished and yet still not even close to be satisfied. I have a long way to go yet and will take every obstacle in stride.

26.2 miles - 3:14:31 (7:25 pace)
75th place of 667 finishers

Friday, May 14, 2010

Marathon Ready

Today was my final run before the marathon. It was an easy 4 mile run. Because of some wind, I elected not to run the Ben Franklin Bridge. I opted instead for an out and back on West River Drive, starting at Lloyd Hall.

Things didn't start that well. Lately, I've been driving over to Lloyd Hall to start my runs. When I walk over there, it seems my legs get a nice warm up. The first couple miles are just sluggish if I drive to the start. That was the case again today.

It wasn't a painful two miles, but it did seem to take pretty long. I got to the typical turnaround point for 5Ks. That was where I hit mile 2 and then headed back home. Right before that, I passed two cute females.

I didn't push the pace at all, but I just got progressively faster as my legs loosened up. Even without going hard, my final mile was a 7:09. That shows that I definitely have some energy left.

The weather was kind of interesting too. It was in the low 60s and actually fairly humid. There was a breeze though, so at times I was too hot and other times too cold. I wouldn't complain about that weather come race day. The race weather looks pretty nice and I'm hoping it'll be warm enough to wear my new lightweight racing singlet.

I'm not injured now, but my nagging hamstring doesn't seem to have improved with the rest. It doesn't bother me as much as it did during longer runs, but I definitely still notice it. I'll have to massage and stretch it out well over the next day and a half.

The rest has been great. I'm a little disappointed because I missed two key speedy workouts in the last two weeks. I'm very happy with the overall mileage though. I didn't think the taper actually reduced the overall mileage enough during my training plan. Missing those two runs has reduced my mileage by 9 or 10 each week. This week, it was 35 miles instead of 44 miles. I like that number a lot better. I'm ready to go and don't need more miles.

I'm working 4 to close today. I'm then probably heading home tonight. I pick up my packet tomorrow afternoon. I'll likely drive the course again. We'll probably go to the Aardvark store and the Crossings as well, since we are in the area. The race starts at 8 AM on Sunday and I can't wait. Here's to hoping for a Boston Qualifier.

4 miles -30:31 (7:38 pace)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Second to Last Run

This morning was my second to last run before the marathon. It has been very difficult to get lately for these easy runs. I just want the race to happen already. I'm well prepared.

I started with a mile out and back on Kelly Drive. I then finished with the Schuykill Banks loop. I was very stiff early on. I think that's why I hate these runs so much, it takes me awhile to warm up. I ran most of the run at a very nice pace. I cruised along for most of it. The first mile was just over 8 minutes and that pace was actually perfect.

It still was a little chilly and my nose was running again as usual. The weather for Sunday looks nice, but allergy season sure could play a problem. I haven't had a run with a clear nose in a couple weeks. I can battle through it though. I'll take a Claritin on Saturday. Hopefully that'll help.

I didn't feel great during the first out and back, but was much better as the Banks loop started. I just never get tired of that short easy loop. It just always seems relaxing and easy. Before I know it, I'm back to Lloyd Hall.

My pace was a little faster than I would've liked for the last two miles. I passed a slower runner just past the turnaround. I sped by him and started going fast. Even though I slowed myself back down, it still ended up being a fairly fast final 1.5 miles.

Tomorrow is the final tune up run before the marathon. It will be a very easy 4 miler. I can't wait to complete it. I don't work until 4 PM, but I'll still probably head out pretty early in the morning. I'd like to run the Ben Franklin Bridge. For that, I'd have to drive over to the area. The bridge itself is nearly a 3 mile out and back.

5 miles - 38:36 (7:43 pace)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Skipped a Run

It might've been the first time I skipped a run due to laziness since I started training for my first marathon. I've been very consistent, but yesterday I couldn't get my 9 mile final speed session in. There are a few excuses why, but I really still should've run. I wasn't able to go to the bathroom after breakfast, so I passed on the morning run. In the evening after work, it was about to pour and was already freezing.

With the missed run behind me, I got back on track today. I actually considered doing yesterday's run, but as I hit mile 2, I felt pretty bad. It wasn't raining this time, but again it was pretty cold and cloudy in the morning. I elected just to go with the easy 6 mile route.

There wasn't any wind for a change. Other than me still feeling pretty bad, the run was quite easy. I didn't focus at all on my pace and I just cruised along. I came across a few cute females and pushed the pace a little around them. Overall though, I ran quite easy and in control. I turned around just after passing the second cute girl.

I wore a long sleeve tech shirt from the Philadelphia Marathon. That was actually too much, even in this cool weather. I was sweating quite a bit. I felt very sharp on the last two miles though as I finished up pretty fast. I'm definitely ready to go this weekend.

My Garmin wasn't working right today. It added about .09 miles to the run. I went to training a few seconds before my run and I'm thinking that distance might've been added without any timing. That's the only thing that makes sense, unless the watch just wasn't working right.

It would be nice to have some good weather, but as long as it isn't too hot or rainy, I won't complain. The forecast still looks good for race day. That is key. I'm getting impatient and can't wait for it to come already. Today feels like Thursday, but it is really only Wednesday. The weekend can't get here fast enough. I'm ready to challenge myself already.

Tomorrow is my second last run before the race. It'll be an easy 5 miler. I'd like to run the Ben Franklin Bridge to get in one last hill session. I work a tough 1 PM to close shift tomorrow. That should be interesting. I haven't used the foam roller lately, because I haven't been sore. I need to get back to that though.

6.09 miles - 46:24 (7:37 pace)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Low Key Recovery

The run this morning was a low key easy 7 mile recovery. It was a simple out and back on Kelly Drive. Following the run, were 6 X 10 second hill sprint. I am now just six days away from my second marathon.

Once again, what a difference a week makes in terms of weather. Last week was muggy and hot. This week it is cold and windy. The windy was actually half as strong as yesterday, but still a major pain in the butt. I went with a light long sleeve tech shirt rather than short sleeves. That was a good call as the wind made conditions tough, especially early on.

The temperature was barely in the 50s, even at 10:30 AM. The wind was very brutal as I ran along boathouse row. It was so bad that my eyes actually watered, even with the protection of sunglasses. At times, the wind gusted like crazy. Other times, it was cooling and not too bad. Most of the way out was into a headwind though. I was really bothered early on. I just kept battling though and eventually made it to the turnaround point.

The first mile was right around 8 minutes. After that, I ran faster than I would've liked. I ran what felt very slow and even worked on slowing myself down, but I still ended up running around 7:30-7:50 per mile. I'd really like to be around 8 minutes. I struggle to run that slow though. The extra rest of the last week has allowed my legs to bounce back and feel very strong. A few times, I passed cute girls and definitely ran too fast at those points. I was still too quick at other times though. My legs weren't sore or anything at least.

It was great to finish up. The wind did frustrate me. I was constantly blowing my nose and wiping my face in my shirt. After I got into a groove though, it was very relaxing and stress free, just as I had hoped.

I've still run on hills lately, but haven't done hill sprints in awhile. It felt kind of weird. I ran the hill sprints for 10 seconds, rather than the usual 8 seconds. That seemed a bit harder, although I think a big reason for that was the path curving at the end. It was good to get a couple sprints in to finish the workout.

My body feels great and I'm so ready for Sunday. You just never know what will happen in a marathon, but I am very confident right now. I really think I can run it in Boston qualifying time. I just have to run smart and fuel up properly. I have four more runs to go before the race. Tomorrow's is the longest remaining and last speedwork session. I can't wait. I work at noon, so I'll be running in the AM.

7 miles - 54:22 (7:46 pace)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Final Long Run

Today was my final long run of this marathon training session. Unlike last week, I was able to get this 13 miler in without any problems. What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, it was in the upper 80s and very humid. Today, it was in the low 50s and incredibly windy. The last few days brought some of the worst winds that I can remember. Even tougher than some of the windiest days of winter.

Because of the wind, I elected to try running on Forbidden Drive. I figured the trees would offer protection from the huge gusts. It definitely did work out right. Although they was still a chilly breeze, it was nearly as bad as it appeared to be along the river. What I gained in wind protection, I lost it sunlight though. The combination of clouds and tree cover made it pretty cold.

Originally, I thought about wearing just short sleeves. It was good that I didn't go with that option though. I felt great and comfortable throughout the run with my compression sleeves on. My New Balance Tech T-shirt seems to be great for wind protection too.

The run definitely wasn't 100% peaceful though. The combination of the cold and wind and my allergies led to me discharging a lot of mucus. I ended up cleaning up my running nose quite often. I didn't have too much trouble breathing, but wasn't completely comfortable either.

The run was great early on. I headed north on Forbidden Drive from Valley Green. I took 6 Sport Beans before the run and had a lot of energy at the beginning. I kept a nice pace though and held back quite a bit. I cruised along and felt good by the time I made it back to Valley Green. This the same route that I took on a shorter run this past week. I felt much better and more relaxed during this easy run though.

The second portion of the run was tough. I went south from Valley Green. That section is always more difficult because it is quite hilly. After one downhill, I hit a stretch that I actually didn't recognize at the moment. It wasn't until I ran through there uphill on the way back, that I remembered.

I kept running and running, just trying to get a little further away, so I wouldn't have to run much extra. Originally, I thought about turning around when I hit the Lincoln Drive path. Knowing I'd still have to run a couple more miles, I continued along the paved path. After a few short hills, I eventually turned around at about my 8.7. That meant that I would have less than a mile to finish up after Valley Green.

After turning around, the remainder of the run was rather tough. I didn't stop to drink the first time I was at Valley Green. That was a mistake. It wasn't too hot, but I still got dehydrated. Around mile 9, I started to feel the effects. I knew I'd survive the run, but I sure wasn't feeling great. I actually drink at all until after the run. I'll definitely stop and drink more at the marathon next week.

I made it through the end by just focusing on the next mile. Again, it was tough though with so much uphill running and so little water. I was very relieved when I hit miles 11 and 12. To finish up, I ran back out a short distance north of Valley Green. I completed the run about 100 yards from my car. I then got some much needed water from the fountain.

Other than being dehydrated, my body felt great. I had a lot of energy and only very mild soreness. The taper is definitely helping to keep me fresh. It's amazing to think that today's easy 13 miler was only slightly slower than the fall half marathon that I struggled through. What progress I am making. The only thing I didn't like about this run was that my miles were very inconsistent. One was quite fast and the next was slow. I'm usually relatively steady in these.

I am so eager to get to next week. Today, was the first time I really started thinking about the marathon. It has been a lot of hard work and I'm looking forward to completing another challenge. Hopefully I can accomplish my goal for the race. It'll be interesting because this will be the first race that I'm truly setting a goal for. We'll have to see how that pushes me. I felt like I've given a lot during my long races to date, but I haven't gone all out at any point. Now, we'll see what I'm really made of.

I started thinking a lot about pace. I know I won't be able to negative split the course, so I won't even try. I'm struggling with what my pace should be at the halfway and 18 mile points. I think mile 18 is going to be a big key. If I can somewhat race the final 8 miles, that would be huge. I've done 8 miles for stretches before, most recently the two marathon paced runs.

My biggest concerned is what pace is good and what is too fast. Will I benefit that much in the end by going 7:10 per mile early rather than 7:05. I did several miles under 7 minute pace early on in the half marathon and that is definitely faster than I want to go in this one. That said, I thought I was running pretty easy during those too, but my times showed otherwise. Either way, I'm not going to push the pace at all until at least my 16 and most likely not until 18. I feel like I'll probably struggle a bit in the final three miles, so I want to be under goal pace before those last couple.

I wish I had run the course a couple weeks ago. That wouldn't been a huge learning experience and a big help. I'd have a much better feel for what is good and what is too fast. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes. I can't wait.

13 miles - 1:42:33 (7:53 pace)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Marathon Paced Run

Today was a marathon paced run. It started and ended with 1 mile easy. It continued with 2 X 4 miles at marathon pace with a 5 minute active recovery in between. The run ended up being a successful 11.2 miles.

The weather was actually perfect for a change. It was in the 50s and there was a slight breeze going both directions. It was enough to be cooling, but not disruptive. I ended up getting early for once. It was good to get the run out of the way before work.

I started off feeling strong and well rested for a change. I guess that's due to not running on tired legs. That's what usually happens when I run after work. I ate some GU Chomps beforehand and had a lot of energy too.

I started at Lloyd Hall and ran out along West River Drive. The first faster mile was actually a bit too fast. It was under 7 minutes. All my marathon paced miles were successfully under my goal pace of 7:15. I was pretty consistent through the remainder of the first 4 miles.

As I was nearly finishing up my first interval, someone stopped me to ask about the regatta. That was frustrating because it broke my rhythm. I picked up the pace quite a bit to finish off the interval. I stayed on West River Drive to avoid the traffic from the regatta.

The 5 minute recovery seemed so short. Time just flew by. My legs started losing it a bit around the first half mile of the second interval. I just kept focusing on getting through the next mile though. I tried to keep my form pretty sharp as well.

The intervals were great. Time flew by and I didn't even notice my surroundings much. I was so focused and in tune with my running. That happens on these key speed sessions. The pace was perfect. It was challenging enough to keep me working hard, but not overly taxing. It gives me confidence heading into my final week of training.

My body wasn't too sore afterward. I had an 8 hour shift in work though and my back was killing me by the end. It doesn't actually hurt, it is just stiff. Standing and walking don't help, only sitting does. I definitely need to strengthen a lot of areas during my summer training. My body is drained after all this running and working.

I am hoping that I can get over this cold/allergies by the race. I felt better after taking some claritin, but I still don't feel great. I'm coughing quite a bit and my nose is running at work. At least I have a week to recover.

Tomorrow is most likely an off day. I could run a couple miles and get to 40 for the week, but I doubt I will. Rest is really more important. Sunday is a long 13 mile run easy. That will be my final long run before the marathon. It'll be great to be finished.

11.20 miles - 1:23:05 (7:25 pace)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Still Feeling Terrible

Today was an easy 4 mile run. It wasn't too easy as I just feel awful right now. I guess it is my allergies. It sure is making training very hard during this taper. I just started taking Claritin this evening. Hopefully, that'll help things out.

I didn't get up to run early as I had hoped. I decided that a more reasonable run after work was a better option. I was relatively cool and comfortable as I started. I ran a short out and back along Kelly Drive and then ran the Schuykill Banks loop for the final three miles.

Starting off was brutal. There was a strong headwind and it was very frustrating. Winds like that always cause me to push too hard as well. It was nice coming back to Boathouse Row though. I kept what felt like an easy pace, but it was actually pretty fast.

I need to stop running so fast on easy days. I just get nice and comfortable and cruise along. These short runs are actually quite frustrating because it takes me a mile or two to really warm up. By the time I hit my groove, the run is about half over.

I did pass a few slower runners, but luckily didn't push myself. One faster run went by during the loop and I let him go. I need more discipline like that. Going into the headwind again on the way back was very difficult. Combine that with the short hill and I had a struggle on my hands. I survived though and finished a solid run.

Hopefully my health will improve in the next week. Right now, it's very difficult to just get through even the simplest runs. I'm still very confident in my training though and my ability to run well at next week's marathon.

Tomorrow is a long run with 2 X 4 miles at marathon pace with an easy mile before and after and a 5 minute active recovery sandwiched in between. I'm definitely going to head out early in the morning and try to beat any heat that might be hanging around. I'll likely just run this on Kelly Drive.

4 miles - 29:48 (7:27 pace)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heat Causing Problems

Well it's been awhile since I wrote on here. It isn't that I haven't run, but the brutal heat of the last few days has cut some workouts short and left me frustrated. When I last wrote, I was planning a 4 mile Saturday run. Unfortunately, my watch couldn't pick up a satellite signal. I just skipped the short run, figuring rest would do me well.

Sunday was supposed to be a very key run. After working registration at the Broad Street Run expo, I headed to work for a few hours. I ended up drinking an energy drink and was up all night. I got about 3 hours of sleep before getting up at 6 AM to man a water station.

It was pretty hot during the race, but actually the conditions weren't too bad yet. After the race, I decided on a nap. Around 5 PM, I planned on heading out and doing my 16 mile run. It was going to be at marathon pace + 20/30 seconds. The temperature actually rose to 87 degrees at that point. That was probably well over 20 degrees higher than a week ago.

I headed out on Kelly Drive anyways. Adding to the frustration was that there was another high school regatta going on. They happen all spring and are so frustrating because every one on the paths are so ignorant. This lady walked very close to a goose and spooked. It flew away and almost hit a passing biker.

As I got about 2 miles out, it became obvious that I wasn't going to finish the run. It was simply too hot and humid. I either had to scrap the run around 4 miles and make it my easy day, or just go for it. I elected to stop the run and go home.

I went to my parents house on Sunday night. On Monday, I planned to give that 16 miler another shot. I had a couple loops planned out. The first was only 5 miles, but the second was 8 miles. It rained early in the morning, but that was gone by the time I started my run. I figured that it would be nice and cool after the shower. Instead, it was still brutally hot and humid.

I flew at the start, I guess it was downhill. I felt pretty good, but then had the urge to go to the bathroom. I had no luck finding one though, so I pressed on. There were some hills on this route, but the course wasn't too bad. It was the heat that was getting to me. I couldn't believe how much I was sweating. I finally made it home. I tried going to the bathroom, but had no success. I realized I was dizzy and soaked in sweat too. I drank some Gatorade, but decided it wasn't worth going back out to run. It was just too hot. During the taper period, I'd rather shorten a run than press on.

I was obviously disappointed because I didn't complete my long run. Tuesday brought less humidity. I had a ladder interval session planned. I decided that I need a relatively long multiple loop course where I could come back to my car for Gatorade every 2 miles or so. I ended up at Lehigh's Goodman Campus. I ran through the parking lot.

In addition to the warmer weather, I bough a lightweight singlet on Monday. Wearing that was a big help. The temperature was still hot around 10 AM, but the biggest problem was the wind. It was very strong in one direction and difficult to run against. Nevertheless, I got going.

The first couple miles were a little slow. I had to stop just before the speed session, so I could use the restroom. I think I used it three times during this run. It was very frustrating and has actually been a problem lately. I haven't eaten the greatest foods lately, so that is likely an issue.

The longest interval in this run is 3 minutes. Sure enough, as I hit the 3 minute session, I was running straight into a headwind. I kept battling though and I didn't feel great or terrible either. I didn't realize that the workout was supposed to end with the second 3 minute repeat. I actually ran a 2 minute and then 1 minute one afterward. That added a little extra, but not too much. After not getting my long run in, I definitely could handle another couple minutes.

It wasn't the prettiest or smoothest speed session, but I got the job done. Conditions could obviously be better. They aren't always going to be perfect though. My allergies are really bothering me right now. I thought I might even be getting sick after yesterday's run. I felt better this morning, although still not great.

Today's run was a scheduled moderate paced 6 miler. I planned to wake up early. Right before I was supposed to get up, my right calf cramped and tightened up. It was still very stiff when I woke a couple hours later. To put less stress on it and get some shade, I decided to run on Forbidden Drive.

Even with the shade, I went without a shirt. That was a good choice because it was still hot and fairly humid. Not as bad as earlier in the week, but not great either. I just wish I had something with me to wipe away the sweat.

I headed out northbound on the drive. The plan was to just do an out and back. I felt a little slow early on. My legs then started to kick in and I got into a nice pace. The miles seemed to click off very slowly. I hit the end of the path before the 2.5 mile point. It was frustrating knowing a still had quite a bit of running to do. Again, I felt like I needed to use the bathroom. It never got too bad though, so I just ran on. The hills aren't much, but they were beating me up in the heat. I truly miss the cooler weather.

I got to Valley Green and still had over a mile to go. Most of it was uphill before turning around. I only went south for half a mile, but it seemed much longer. It was a relief to turn around and even better to finish the run. I actually ended up running a progression run pace, until the last mile. It was a little tough without great weather conditions, but the run was much better.

I close at work tonight and open up tomorrow. I'm going to try to squeeze my run in very early in the morning. It is only supposed to be 4 miles anyways. I will probably just head to Kelly Drive. I need to start getting more of a set running schedule. I need to run early in the morning. I can rest after my runs on most days, if needed. I look forward to seeing how tomorrow will work out.


4 miles - 32:10 (8:03 pace)


5 miles - 37:41 (7:32 pace)


8.6 miles - 1:06:51 (7:47 pace)


6 miles - 43:56 (7:19 pace)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back With a Threshold Run

My calves were extremely sore when I woke up yesterday morning. The hilly 23 miler really took a beating on me. It was odd, because that area isn't typically sore. Stiffness, might be a better way to describe it. Because of the calves, I took yesterday off from running. Getting through my 8 hour shift with sore calves and a sore back was quite difficult.

I woke up today with the stiffness remaining. I was off from work completely though and decided that I had to run. The workout called for a speedwork session. I was unsure if I should run the threshold run in my condition. I figured I'd let the 2 mile warm up make the decision.

After the first 2 miles, I had to run 2 repeats of 15 minutes each at half marathon pace with 3 minute active recoveries in between. The run then finished up with two more easy miles. I had decided that they best place to run this would be a softer surface. I drove up to the Delaware River Canal path. I parked and started at Washington's Crossing State Park.

The weather was tough to gauge. The temperature was great, but the sun kept going in and out. It was also very windy. I was unsure what to wear. I opted for my long sleeve tech shirt from the Casear Rodney Half Marathon. That turned out to be a good decision.

The first mile was on the slow side, but my legs didn't feel bad as I started on the flat gravel path. The calves didn't bother me at all. This is actually a great route for doing speedwork. I passed a couple people throughout the route, but for the most part the path is clear.

As I hit the second mile, it was obviously that I was going to do the speedwork session. I actually didn't have to pick the pace up too much. I ran pretty consistently around a 6:50 pace during each mile of both speed sessions. That's a bit faster than half marathon pace, but not faster than I can handle right now.

At times, the headwind was tough on the first repeat. That repeat was on the way out (north). The time seemed to go by pretty quickly and I was running nice and smooth. There isn't much to see along the path and that also makes it a good session for focusing on your speed. I finished the first session right after passing a guy and I was pretty tired.

The three minute recovery was a big help though. It got me reenergized for the second repeat. I started off pretty fast in that one and had to slow a bit. The same thing actually happened on the first one as well. I was on my way back and I cruised along the path. I checked my watch every few minutes and the time ticked away pretty quickly. That last 4 or 5 minutes were definitely tough, but I pushed through, knowing that it was almost over.

The toughest part of the run was actually the final two miles easy. They just seem to drag on forever after a faster early pace. The first half mile really seems the longest too. After getting through the first mile, things weren't as bad. The only issue was a couple road crossing and the area by Washington's Crossing has much bigger rocks. My left calf and right hamstring were starting to get sore as usual. When I got back to the park, I still had half a mile to run, so I had to go south for a short out and back.

It felt good to finish up. My legs were bothered a little, but I didn't really beat my body up too much. It was definitely a workout that I could handle. I wasn't sure if that would be the case after the 23 miler. I jumped back into it and felt good though.

One thing that is bothering me lately is my left big toe. It was very sore during and after last week's rocky trail run. Using it to push off caused some problems. It bothered me again during the 23 miler, but went away. I didn't notice it too much today during the run, but it was a little sore afterward, when I was wearing my Five Fingers. Luckily, there isn't much pain yet and I can run through it. I just hope it isn't a stress fracture. I'll just have to monitor it and stay off trails for awhile.

Originally, I tried to cram all my runs in this week, even after the long run was pushed back a day. I just decided it would be wiser to just start tapering, instead of risking injury. I got my longest run in already, so I'm good to go. This will still be a 50 mile week. I was just hoping to top 60 miles. That is a barrier that I haven't reached yet. Hopefully, I'll get there in the summer.

I actually open tomorrow at work. I work from 9-4. That'll be an interesting shift. I've never started before 11 AM. I switched with Bianca though. Because of that, I'll be getting my run in later. I only have 5 miles to run, plus some hill sprint. I'll probably just head over to Kelly Driver after work.

9.15 miles - 1:07:54 (7:25 pace)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Final Long Run

Well after a delay, I finally got in my final long run of this marathon training cycle. It was a challenging 23 miler in the rain. I wanted to run the marathon course on Sunday, but held off because of the rain. This morning, I ran back at my parents house because I had no choice. This is now my second longest run ever. It is second only to my first marathon.

I had hoped things would clear up, but they obviously didn't. After running for over a week straight, it was nice to have two straight days off. That allowed my body to recover, although I was quite slow and stagnant early on.

I knew this would be a difficult run requiring multiple loops. I decided to start by combining some of the toughest track routes together. I parked near the center of town. I first ran the Flurer's loop. That is a difficult and hilly loop around the old folks home, Gracedale. There is actually a shorter Gracedale loop as well. The Flurer's loop adds an extra challenging hill.

I wore my rain jacket for this first loop. The rain was fairly hard when I started, but quickly died down. I was way too hot. As soon as this loop finished, around 4.5 miles, I took off my jacket and changed to a short sleeve shirt and compression sleeves. At the beginning of the route, I had to use the bathroom. Towards the end of the loop, I had to make a second longer trip. Luckily, there is a portable bathroom at a baseball field near the town circle.

After the first loop, I decided to add track's most challenging run. That is Red Bridge. It consists of a very steep climb to near where the Andretti's live. There's then a steep descent and another ascent. I added a longer and flat section to this run too. The first hill didn't bother me much, but the second hill was a struggle.

I was a bit worried as I cruised downhill. My big toe started to get sore. I was hoping that it wasn't fractured. I think I irritated it while running over rocks during the trail run last week. After a little while, the pain went away though.

I felt pretty good as I headed back to the car. I was just past the halfway point when I got there. Even though I was feeling okay, I was still questioning how I'd be able to run 11 more miles. This always seems to be the case at the midway point, but I always seem to survive.

I decided to run the Flurer's loop again. I was out of ideas on where to run. As I got to Flurer's, after struggling a little uphill, I decided to run out on Route 946. I planned to do this for a mile and then come back. This would add some flat distance. The rain really started to pickup at this point. I cruised along and ran my fastest miles during this portion. I passed into Lower Nazareth Township and nearly headed all the way to my parents house. This was the 4th township that I ran through, plus the borough of Nazareth.

Getting up the last hill by Gracedale was somewhat challenging. It is amazing how much tougher these hills seemed during track though. They certainly aren't easy, but I'm in the best shape of my life. Adding hills to my workouts has really paid off too.

The hill was somewhat tough, but it was the rain that was becoming a pain. My shirt was pretty good against the rain, but after over 10 miles with it on, it became soaked. My nipples were starting to bother me. When I got back to the car again, I was at mile 19.4. I changed out of my shirt and put on a dry one. I put my jacket back on too. I knew I'd be hot, but figured it didn't matter for this final stretch.

I had less than 4 miles to go. I wasn't really sure where to run though. I went back towards the high school. I didn't want anything to do with hills, so it was tough to find a route. I thought about going east past the high school, but as I got to the road I wanted to take, I could see the shoulder was flooded. It was a steeper downhill too, compared to what I remembered. I decided instead to run through the flat neighborhood around the school. I was struggling a bit at this point, but I weaved in and out, adding miles to the route.

There was one more climb from the school back into town. It isn't too steep, but it was tough this late in the run. I got up it and was relieved. I then went down one road a couple blocks to added some distance. I was inside the final mile and needed to cover a little more ground. I ran back through the circle in town and finished up just over a block away. I was sore, but actually felt like I could've run another mile or so.

I think running hills rather than flat was a big help. It kept my pace slow. I run too fast on flats and often somewhat out of control. The hills didn't beat me up as much as I thought that would. I was certainly very sore, but actually seemed better than some of my other runs. It was certainly better than last week's concrete sidewalk heavy 18 miler.

I feel like I'm ready for the marathon. I have three runs of 20+ miles under my belt. I actually want to get even more of these as I train for my fall marathon. I want to become so used to them that I can actually speed up at the end of the marathon, rather than hang on.

It would've been nice to run the actual course and use my times to come up with a game plan. This was still a very good and challenging workout. I feel as though I'm ready for the race. The hill work I've been putting in has been huge. I'm so much stronger than I was before my fall marathon. It is like night and day.

I was relieved that they cut me from work this evening. I was pretty sore and would've struggled, even with a short shift. I'm not sure how to run the rest of the week. I want to get in all my runs, so I can run over 60 miles. I was hoping to just swap easy and hard days around. That might be tough though. Tomorrow's run would wind up being 10 miles. I'm likely going to run on a trail, so my legs don't take a pounding. I'll shoot for 10 miles, but really I'll just see how I feel. It'll be tough too because it is supposed to still rain in the morning. We shall see.

23 miles - 3:12:35 (8:22 pace)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back to Memorial Hall

Originally, I was just going to walk to the river and then run. It was quite windy and very chilly though, when I stepped out the door. The forecast was supposedly 54 degrees and felt like 54. No way that was the case though. I quickly went back in the house and got my car keys. I decided I'd drive up to Memorial Hall and run again.

The run was an easy 4 miler. I figured I'd run the 5K course from last week, plus nearly another mile. This time, I wanted to run the full course, including the portion that we cut off during the race. It was great at the start, not nearly as windy.

I felt a little sluggish early on. It has been a long week and now a new mileage high of 57 miles. The first half mile of this run seemed to drag on forever. It got much better as a made it around to the back of the course though. The Japanese House and Horticultural Center are beautiful.

Even though there are some paved running paths, I mostly stuck to the roads. This actually a great area for a short run, because few cars travel the roads around there. The roads do curve a lot, but there isn't much elevation change.

I actually started to shortcut the course again in the same section. Then I realized my mistake and backtracked. I nearly turned at the wrong spot at another location too. I noticed that mistake as well though.

The race flew by so fast last week that I really didn't even notice a lot of the course. I don't remember running past my car early on, but I guess I did. At that point, I was trying to slow down a little because of the killer early pace. I also don't remember running behind Memorial Hall, but obviously we had to. I was able to take in much more of the scenery this time around.

Needless to say, my pace was much slower this time. I cruised to the 5K point around 23 minutes. I then looped around similar to the start. I finally finished up near the car.

The pace was nice and easy and it was great way to end the week. It was a good recovery run that didn't put much stress on my body. My toe was a little sore, I presume from trail running yesterday.

I look forward to tomorrow's total rest day and camping with my dad. I might hike some of the trails around the lake. I'd like to get a feel for their layout. I don't want to overwork my body though. I'm also very ready for my 23 mile long run on the actual marathon course. We'll see how I do. It will be a key to planning out my race strategy.

4 miles - 31:31 (7:53 pace)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just Another Challenging Trail Run

This afternoon, I went out for a very challenging 11 mile trail run at Wissahickon. That is the longest trail run I have done. It was fairly hot out too, so that made it tough. At least it was shaded though.

I started off running on the east side of the trail. This time I started on a different section than I typically do. It was a longer and more gradual climb. It was definitely tough, but not as tiring as usual. I passed two people riding horseback at the top of the trail.

There was still plenty of climbing and lots of rocks after the initial climb. It wasn't nearly as bad as some of the other sections though. I was able to fly through some sections though. I came out and could see Bells Mill Road below. I didn't want to run down and back up.

I ended up running through an open field that they are now clearing with construction vehicles. I followed some blue flags, but it led to nowhere. I then turned around and ran back. I was getting pretty dehydrated by that point. I was relieved when I finally made it back and sipped some Gatorade.

Following that stop, I ran along the lower trail on the west side of the park. I ran north this time, rather than south. This section is quite rocky, although I remember it being worse than it actually was. I did have to slow down through some of the terrain though. It was deceptive too, because there were a lot of small rolling hills.

One section was basically like a small creek with water flowing across it. I slowly navigated through it. I did have to cross an actual small creek later on. My new North Face shoes did hold up pretty well on that. There were a lot of other sites too as I made my way along the trail. There's a pedestrian bridge. There was a beach type area along the main creek, with some teenagers swimming and sunbathing in it.

I eventually came out and crossed a bridge. That led me to an area of Forbidden Drive that I am familiar with. I came across some more horses. I decided to walk by them. I then ran down Forbidden Drive for a bit, so I wouldn't come up behind them.

I eventually made my way back to the car on the trail. I was very exhausted by this point. I found myself walking for briefs periods. This happened quite often, especially on rocky sections. It was a struggle to finish. It was definitely one of my most difficult runs ever.

When I got back to Valley Green, I ran out almost another mile. I then came back and finished right in front of Valley Green. The last mile and a half or so was pretty comfortable. It was a relief to finish.

My new trail shoes weren't bad, but they did cause some problems. My trail socks were too thick and I nearly blistered. I rolled my ankles quite a few times with my shoes. I bought them a half size bigger than my other trail shoes. I might have to make sure my laces are tighter in the future. I really don't want to get seriously injured.

Speaking of injury, I really need to learn how to run downhill better. I don't extend my stride, but I don't slow down either. Eventually, I might trip on a rock or root and hopefully won't cause myself to be injured.

I continue to be amazed at how well trails allow my legs to recover. They were very sore after yesterday's 10 mile run. After this exhausting 11 mile run, I wasn't sore at all. I feel great, but still might go on the foam roller.

It is amazing how much energy I still have too. I drove by Kelly Drive and almost wanted to run again, even after the tough run was over. I actually seriously considered riding my bike in the evening.

Tomorrow is a very easy 4 mile run. That'll probably happen fairly early in the AM. I don't work until 4, but it'll be nice to get the run out of the way. That'll be a new high mileage week of 57 miles. I'll take a much needed rest day on Saturday too. Sunday, I'll be camping and will run some of the marathon course.

11 miles - 1:49:38 (9:58 pace)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Long Recovery Run

Today, I headed out the door for a recovery run, following yesterday's speedwork. Usually, these type of runs are 6 miles or less. This one was 10 miles though. That made it quite difficult.

I only had a little over 12 hours between runs, so that made things worse too. As I started out on the Schuykill Banks loop, I didn't feel too bad. I was a little slow, but my legs weren't sore. It was pretty warm out though and I didn't hydrate enough during the run.

I didn't feel great or terrible early on, it was somewhere in between. I churned through the miles, but they did seem to take awhile. Although it was hot, there was also quite a breeze and I struggled running against it.

As I hit the halfway point or so, my body started deteriorating. My times didn't slow, but I started to feel more sluggish and sore. I continued to just battle mile after mile. It was a big relief to make it to Falls Bridge.

The run back was quite tough. It was only 3.5 miles, but it just seemed like forever. My body needed more recovery time or a shorter run. Throughout the whole run, I had to try to tell myself to slow down. I wasn't working hard, but my times seemed too fast. I hit a couple miles right around a 7:41 pace. I wanted to be closer to 8 minutes.

Eventually, things got the better of me and I got a side sticker and had to slow down. That happened between the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and Columbia Bridge. That finally slowed me to under 8 minutes. After recovering though, I was back under 8 minutes for each of the final two miles. Another side sticker forced me to slow towards the finish, after I had tried to pick up the pace.

Thankfully, I don't get side stickers very often more. I think that probably occurred because of the lack of fluids. I probably should've stopped at the grandstand water fountain. My legs really took a beating towards the end too. They were quite sore. Using the foam roller afterward helped, but they were very sore again after work.

My body has just taken a beating lately. It hasn't fully recovered from the fast 5K on Saturday and tough sidewalk pounding 18 miler on Sunday. This Saturday's rest will be much needed. Ideally, I should've run a shorter distance today. Six miles would've made for a better recovery run. It is hard to believe that it is only Wednesday and I'm already up to 42 miles this week. My maximum miles during training for the first marathon, was only 40 miles.

Tomorrow won't exactly be a rest day either. I planned for a tough 11 mile trail run. Hopefully my legs won't take as much of a pounding and I'll get through it better. If not, perhaps I'll cut back on mileage. I got my new North Face trail running shoes and I think I'll try them out. Not sure which trail I'll actually run on.

1:18:44 (7:53 pace)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ladders at Night

I love challenging Tuesday speedwork sessions. Today was no different. I wanted to get up before work, but I thought I was too sore. It appears that I really wasn't though, as I felt good later in the morning. I headed out after work for a speedwork session.

The workout was ladder interval. After 2 miles easy, I ran 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min, 2 min and 3 min. Each of those was followed by a recovery run period of equal time. Finally, the workout ended with 2 miles easy.

The first 2 miles are a great warm-up. I try to get faster as it goes on and I get closer to the speed intervals. The intervals are supposed to be from 3K-10K pace. I was definitely consistent in that area, from 5:52 pace to a 6:12 pace. I am really doing a good job of learning my pace at this point.

The first few intervals were great, as I headed to Falls Bridge. It was perfect weather and I was cruising along. I worked on keeping a nice and smooth form. I guess I did tense up a bit as my shoulder became sore. I tried to loosen up and shake my arms to get the tension out.

Time always flies by on these runs and before you know it, you are nearly to the halfway point or done. The first interval happened to be uphill, as did the interval at the foot of Falls Bridge. I turned around on the hill, just before the bridge. That uphill interval was hard work.

Coming back, the last few intervals took quite a bit of effort. I wasn't completely dead, but I did really have to push myself. It sure wasn't easy. I would've needed a longer recovery period to run another interval. The last 3 minute interval seemed like forever. It was a relief to finally be done.

The final two easy miles were very difficult. My calves and hip were quite sore. My hamstring bothered me a little too. Even though the miles were both under 8 minute pace, they seemed like forever. I guess that is what happens after running some intervals at a pace 2 minutes faster. I finished uphill to the Art Museum. I was thrilled to be done.

My body seems to really be struggling from the last few days. My hip hasn't been this sore in weeks. I used the foam roller, but I need to do more before bed. I need to get my hips, calves and hamstrings loosened up.

Tomorrow, I'm running 10 miles easy. I don't work until 4 PM. I'll probably head out Pennypack Park. I haven't run there in awhile. I need to rest a bit and recover before heading out to the run.

8.15 miles - 59:00 (7:14 pace)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boston Marathon and Van Cortlandt Park

Rather than run in Worcester again (which I didn't enjoy much the first day), I decided to save the run until later. I figured I'd be stuck in traffic in NYC anyways, so why not run at historic Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. It is one of the most famous cross country courses in the country and has hosted numerous championships.

So I headed from Worcester to Wellesley (where I planned to watch the marathon). I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts and it was packed. I thought it was because of the race, apparently not. On the highway to Wellesley, I saw bus after bus taking the runners to the start. That got me a little watery eyed.

I started driving toward the center of town, and quickly found the road blocked. I parked at a nearby shopping center and walked over. I wandered around the course a bit. It was before 9 AM and the race didn't even start until 9:22. There was plenty of real estate still available.

I took some photos, including one of the halfway point. I was surprised that they didn't have a timer there. Maybe they put one up later on. I realized that I would be better off setting up on the other side of the street, so I didn't have to cross the street during the race. That proved to be a good strategy. I found a section of curb that jutted out. It was perfect for photos. It turned out that I was actually in front of the park that they suggested setting up at on one of the webpages that I read.

It took awhile for the first wheelchairs to come through. They really fly and the lead pack was all together. They were there in around 40 minutes. They are so inspiring. I'm not sure I would be able to do the same if I was in their position. Seeing a few mentally handicapped people being pushed in wheelchairs was pretty cool too. I did miss Dick Hoyt pushing his son. That's too bad.

The elite women had a bit of a breakaway when they came through. The men were altogether with Ryan Hall leading the way. He eventually took 4th and Meb was 5th. Not what we were hoping for, but still a great showing by the Americans.

The marathon was fun. The crowd support was amazing. I can't even imagine running all 26.2 miles with that many people watching. It has to be astounding. I can't wait to run it. Hopefully I won't get too emotional. That might be tough for me though.

I got to Van Cortlandt before 4:30. I didn't have a second set of running clothes, so I used some of my stuff from yesterday. I started off walking through the paved trail. Once I walked over the pedestrian bridge over the highway, I began to run. It started with a tough run uphill on the cinder surface. As soon as I could, I found a dirt trail and ran on it. I was hoping to find the cross country course. I also wanted to give my legs some nice recovery.

The trail ended after a mile or so and I had to backtrack. It was good though because some of the sections were getting muddy and I didn't have the shoes for that. I ran around the stadium and pool, this time on pavement. The pool was beautiful. I then looped back near the start.

Most of the rest of the run was on the looped paths in the northern side of the park. They are a mixture of stone and old pavement. The inclines have wooden boards every so often. They are quite annoying and slowed me down. I wasn't very fast anyways though, as my legs hadn't fully recovered from yesterday's run and today's long drive.

A lot of high school teams were doing workouts on the trails. I came up behind a fairly fast male runner. It was annoying though because he wasn't pushing much. After following him for a bit, I blew by him. I was glad he didn't follow. I didn't really want to have to go fast, I just didn't like his pace. I quickly cut off the main path anyways.

For awhile I was getting worried. I didn't have a clue where I actually was. The sun was my only compass. I figured I wouldn't get lost in such a small park. At that point, I still had well over a mile and a half to go anyways. I didn't want to go too far north though.

Around the five mile mark, I finally got my bearings. I did a couple loops of the areas that I knew, so that I wouldn't get lost. I ran back over the bridge and flew by the high school teams and their coach. I might've opened up my stride a little bit then. I'd never actually show off though. I finally finished up at my car near the horse stables.

The park wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great either. Some parts are nice and others are run down. It won't win park of the year or worst park either. The history of the place is impressive, it is ashame it isn't in better condition all throughout. It sure has a lot of options and challenging hills. I didn't run any hill sprints after the workout, because the run was hilly enough. Even though it wasn't overly impressive, I'm still glad I ran there.

Tomorrow I have some ladder intervals scheduled. I will get out and run them early in the morning. I work from 12-7 tomorrow. It'll be great to have the workout out of the way first. It should take me about an hour to complete.

6 miles - 50:06 (8:21 pace)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Worcester Long Run

Originally, I was going to run early in the morning before leaving for Massachusetts. I decided it would be wiser to run when I got there. I knew my legs would be sore after 18 miles and driving for 5+ hours would be tough.

I got into Worcester around 2 in the afternoon. I asked the hotel clerk where to run at. He suggested a nearby park. When I got there, it I could tell it was way too small. I saw a sign for what looked like a much bigger park a few miles away.

I decided to run out of town. It was a beautiful start to the route, with some very big and obviously expensive houses. Some of them even had gates. I started off mostly by climbing. There were a lot of rolling hills. Most of the hills were uphill on the way out though. They seemed never ending and became very frustrating.

I continued to press on though, mile after mile. I kept hoping that things would eventually change or I'd wind up getting to the park. I passed Assumption College and plenty of housing complexes and woods. One complex was actually named Salisbury Hill. I didn't see how it got that name since all of Salisbury Road was a hill!

Finally after a little over 5 miles, I gave up my quest for the lake. I still don't know where it is actually at or if I was even close to it. The turnaround was a huge relief though. It was almost all downhill and my time was cut dramatically. I cruised with little effort. That was fun. It was also a lot like my marathon run will be in a few weeks.

I finally got back into town. I tried to loop around the park that the clerk told me about. The trail ended shortly though and I wound up in an apartment complex. I then headed back into town.

I needed some fluids pretty badly by this point. I came prepared and brought money with me to pickup a drink. I had only eaten some Sport Beans and salt packets up to that point. I got a Gatorade at the local market and continued on my way. After drinking about 2/3 of it, I tried running with it. It was too cold and heavy to carry though, so I threw it away.

I was hoping to run to the College of Holy Cross. Instead, I just ended up running 1 mile to 1 1/2 miles into the dumpy southern section of town. I passed by two strip clubs and a lot of run down buildings. I turned around and headed home.

By this point, my legs were really starting to bother me. Today was supposed to be an easier long run than the last couple weeks. It was a way to cut back. Instead, I ran on a lot of sidewalks and my legs to a real pounding.

Despite the soreness, I was determined to finish. As I was heading back out of town, a girl passed me on her route. I ran behind her for a bit and then passed her. She turned one way and I went the other. The path I chose, climbed uphill again. I sputtered and just focused on getting to mile 16. I finally did that and turned around. When I got back to the hotel, I still had about .7 miles to go.

I ran around downtown a little more and then finished up. My legs were unbelievably sore. They haven't taken a pounding like this in awhile. I think running on the softer Forbidden Drive surface back in Philly has been a big plus to savings my legs. I made sure to massage them quite a bit after the run. I didn't bring my foam roller along, but I did use the Stick.

Tomorrow, I'm going to head out for an easy 6 miler. It was supposed to include hill sprints, but I think I'll just run on the hills of Salisbury again. I might loop around Assumption College too. I have to get up early and get my run in. After it, I'm heading to the Boston Marathon. I plan on staking out a place around the midway point in Wellesley. I'm about a half an hour from the start. It should take be another 15 minutes or so to get to Wellesley.

18 miles - 2:22:15 (7:54 pace)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Outstanding Surprise

You typically know that the hard work you are putting in is leading to improvements, but sometimes it takes a race to see just how much. That was the case as I ran Step Up, Step Out Walk/Run for the Red Cross this morning. I'm not doing any 5K training, but I ran the race faster than I ever have and far better than I could've predicted.

I took home 3rd place overall and was the 2nd male to finish, after an astonishing 18:40 time. My goal coming in was modest, just to break 20 minutes. That would've been a nice step. This was great. I sort of knew from my speedwork sessions, that I could run around this fast. I just didn't really think I could string together 3 miles at that pace.

The start of the race was a sign of things to come. The eventual winner asked me at the beginning if I knew where we were turning. I wasn't sure. I'm not used to being that far up front. He did actually miss the turn and so did I. We all had to backtrack and he had to pass me again. Another entertaining part to the start was a kid from Students Run Philly Style asking me if it was the start of the race. After I told him it was, he backed off and slowed down.

I ran a very fast first half mile. The pace was blistering. My legs were really hurting and I knew I had to slow down to survive. That said, the fast started definitely helped keep me from dropping off too much. Warming up before the race helped loosen up my legs some too. I flew to a 5:58 first mile. I didn't even know if I could run a single mile that fast at this point.

I was pretty comfortable and relaxed, but still working hard as we continued on. That is something I have been trying to work on lately and have been doing a much better job of. Going so fast, the race just flew by. There was some beautiful scenery around, but we didn't have much time to look at it.

I had passed someone around the mile mark and that launched me 5th overall. There were still two guys up ahead running together. I just ran my own race though. I was more concerned about losing a spot to those behind me, than catching those ahead of me. I slowed down some in the 2nd mile 6:19. I was in a groove though.

I noticed I was really catching one of the guys ahead of me. I thought we actually short cut the course at the Japanese House and later found out we did. It was poorly marked though and all the leaders in front of us did the same. We just followed.

For most of the final mile, I found myself in 4th place and as the 3rd place male. I knew that was $75 of prize money, so I wanted to hold that position. The guy ahead of me wasn't sure where to go on the course, so I got up along side of him and told him where the lead woman went. He lost a lot of momentum and was slowing. I knew I could out kick him down the stretch, but I didn't expect him to fall off that much.

I ran hard down the long finish straight and briefly looked back to see I was pulling away from him. I was just so amazed to see that I was 3rd overall and the 2nd male as I neared the finish line. I blasted through the line. The time would be a new personal record by 12 seconds, but as I said earlier, us leaders did cut the course. My watch said we ran .05 miles short of a 5K. That is even after going a little further past the one turn.

I'm still very impressed with the outcome. I knew coming in that I could run up front, but I just didn't realize that I had that much speed right now. Clearly the speedwork I've been doing, even though it for longer distances, is really helping. Running short and fast with the run club on Tuesdays is a big plus. What a great way to end a terrific week. It is scary to think what I could do with 5K specific training.

It was a good day for all of our team. Bill took home a new PR. Nate finished just behind him and actually won an age group award. Dan finished the whole race and ran most of it. Lisa, Kim and the others ran well too. We then had a cookout at Dan's afterward took. It was a fun day for all involved.

It is amazing how much base mileage can do for you. I knew I was in the best shape of my life and my endurance was better than ever. I still didn't think my speed was quite to this level yet. One of my goals is to run a PR this year in the 5K as well as the longer events. I basically already did that now, even though I can't count this since the course was short. I know I'm fast enough to do so though.

This was a huge boost of confidence. That's not exactly something I need more of. I'm already a very confident runner by nature. This 5K time actually projects out as a 3:01 marathon. If I can run close to that, I'll be tickled. Before this race, I was on the fence about whether I could run a marathon fast enough to qualify for Boston. Even though a 5K time isn't a good judge, I know I'm capable of running a few minutes under qualifying time. I still will have to run a smart race and do a lot of things right during the marathon, but I'm fully capable of doing so. I just really have to learn from next week's training run on the course and develop a strategy.

I was a little behind on writing about Friday's trail run, so I'll do that now as well. I finally got up early and ran in Wissahickon. I was up by 6:20 and on the course by 7:30. It took quite awhile for my body to adjust to the early start. I felt very sluggish early on. Luckily, i took a nice and easy path to start.

There was certainly plenty of climbing as always, within the first mile. It was nothing compared to some other days though. I ran on the east trails and took off running north. The weather was gloomy and cool early on. It was cloudy, but even when the sun did peak out, it was covered by the tree canopy.

This section really sucks and isn't the best way to start the run. It is big rock after big rock after big rock. It got very annoying after awhile. I was forced to run slow. Some of the other trail sections are rocky, but they usually have fast and flatter sections too. I had to be careful not to injure an ankle. I cruised along. I was actually lost because there are quite a few trails connecting in that area. One time, I came out onto a road. I had to backtrack and eventually I made it to one of the main road crossing.

I decided to continue running north, through a section that I had never run before. It was very tough. It was right along the creek and even more rocky. It was cool to see the creek, but the route was almost not runnable for awhile. Some sections were sandy too. Eventually that ended and the path went through a section of bushes. It was just barely wide enough for one person to run through.

When I hit a road, I decided to just turn around. As I was coming to the end of the bushes, I saw what I thought was a dog. After a few seconds, it appeared to have a longer bushy tail and was orange. It disappeared before I got a really good look at it. Either way, I was taking a chance, so I went back to the road. I ran by Chestnut Hill College.

When I got back to the nature area, I had a tough time finding my way around. I was climbing and climbing and climbing and not even sure if I was going in the right direction. That combination is frustrating, especially when you are only halfway through a run. I kept going what I thought was the right direction. After seeing sign after sign of landmarks that I didn't know, I finally found one for Forbidden Drive. I made my way back there.

I started running on Forbidden Drive, but shortly had to stop to use the restroom. I went to where there was a portable one last year, but it wasn't there yet. That has been the case thus far this year at a couple locations. I walked for a bit, until I felt better. I then was able to run after a few minutes.

I decided to just run to Valley Green. That was closer than I thought. After two miles, I came to it and used the bathroom. I still had a mile and a half left. I started on Forbidden Drive, but quickly found a steep trail to climb. That was challenging, but fun. I always loving working on going uphill. I did finish the run on a downhill though after turning around.

Not everything went smooth in this run, but I got through it. I thought I was getting better on the hills, but I was still quite winded at times. No question, I am getting better it is getting easier, but it is still very tough.

Tomorrow, I'm running 18 miles. After back to back 20 mile Sundays, I'm backing off. I'll probably just run the loop twice. I need to make it a little easy after the hard 5K today. After the run, I'm heading up to Boston for the marathon. I got a great deal on a hotel. It is only $58 and half an hour from the start line. It is a Crowne Plaza with their regular rate being $152 and up. I can't wait for the race. Hopefully it'll inspire me even more.

3rd overall (2nd male) won $150
3.05 miles - 18:40 (6:07 pace)

Trail Run
9.05 miles - 1:20:58 (8:57 pace)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ben Franklin Bridge

Today was a recovery day after yesterday's hard session. I wanted to get up kind of early, but ended up sleeping in until after 9. That was helpful when I did get to running.

By that time it was nearly lunch time. Even though it was an easy 4 miler, I still made today's run a little more difficult. I elected to run the Ben Franklin Bridge. I actually started off just past Broad and Spring Garden.

I ran through some dumpy neighborhoods. Eventually, I got to Franklin Square. That place is a really nice park for kids. It is at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Also at the foot of the bridge was a portable bathroom. That worked out great since I really had to go at that point.

I felt pretty good as I hit the bridge. My legs weren't sore or anything. I had recovered nicely. The bridge itself was a bit of a challenge. I didn't quite respect how long it was. The climb isn't steep, but it seems never ending. I got very winded by the end of ascent. It didn't help that I only drank coffee before the run, no Gatorade or water.

Running towards Camden isn't that exciting. Looking out over the water is nice though. I decided to keep going long after I hit the 2 mile point. I ran most of the way down the bridge and nearly into Camden.

I then turned around and ran back. It wasn't quite as long of a climb on the way back. Looking at the city skyline was great. I cruised back down the other side. I finished the run just past the foot of the bridge. I then ended up walking the final mile or so back home.

I was called into work early today. I felt pretty good for most of the day, even after carrying heavy equipment boxes around all day. Eventually, everything caught up with me though. I was very sore by the end of the day. My legs are quite sore now as I lay in bed. Work is great for keeping me active, but combined with all the running I'm doing, my body is really taking a beating. I'm so tired and ready for bed already.

It is a good thing too because I have to get to sleep shortly. I work at noon tomorrow and need to get in a 9 mile trail run before that. That requires me to get up at 6:15. I really need to start my run around 7:30. It'll likely take me close to two hours to complete. I look forward to it. Friday will be a much needed rest day. I can't wait.

4 miles - 33:12 (8:18 pace)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Boston Kind of Day

Well I started off the day hoping to get in a tough 9 mile speedwork session in before work. After being up for almost an hour, I still hadn't gone to the bathroom. I didn't want to run without first doing so. Before long, it was too late for that long of a run, so I elected to pick it up after work.

Luckily for me, it was rainy and miserable outside. Because of that, business was slow and I was cut at 2 PM. That was great because it allowed me to do the speedwork in daylight. The session consisted of 5 minutes easy, followed by 3 minutes at 10K pace for the entire 9 miles. It would've been tough looking at my watch in the dark.

When I start my run, around 3:30 PM, the rain had just about stopped. It was still cloudy and cold though. I decided to run with just shorts and a T-shirt anyways. I probably would've worn my compression sleeves if I was doing a slower workout. The attire worked well, although I was a bit chilled by the end of the run.

Things got off a little slow. It seemed like the 5 minutes segments took quite awhile early on. I got up to speed quickly though. I busted out the first 3 minute segment at a 6:43 pace. That is actually pretty close to my 10K pace. Probably a little faster, but not too bad.

I ran the loop from Lloyd Hall and onto West River Drive first. I love these type of runs because I really focus on the next fast segment while I'm in the easy segment. When I'm in the fast segment, I'm so focused and in the zone. The miles just seem to click by and I don't even notice the scenery.

Before I knew it, I was at Falls Bridge. My pace actually dropped below 6:30 for most of the 3 minute segments. I even had two segments at a 6:17 and 6:18 pace. That's probably more of a 5K pace than a 10K pace. I recovered pretty well though. Even my recoveries ended up being pretty fast (typically under a 7:30 pace).

I didn't feel as though I was falling off too much. My times in fact got faster. At one point, I blew by a young lady. I passed some Philadelphia University runners going the opposite direction. They were moving at a nice clip.

I ran the last hard segment right around the mile marker from Lloyd Hall. I decided after that segment to just finish up the final 8:30 easy. I ran a little bit in the parking lot behind the Art Museum to finish the run. It felt good, even though my hamstrings and calves were screaming. They caused me to slow a little during two of the fast segments, but I still really cruised.

This customer in work today scared me. He said that Boston had lowered their qualification standard. I had heard there was talking of it happening, but I hadn't heard of it actually happening. I suspect if they do do it, it'll be for the 2012 race, not next year. While I wish the standard would lower, it would throw a wrench in my plans for this spring marathon. I might be able to run under 3:10, but I definitely am not ready to go under 3 hours yet. I'm relieved that I found out that they haven't changed anything at this point.

My hard run ended around 4:30 PM. That gave me enough time to stupidly run with the run club too. I showered and ate a sandwich. I then headed to City Sports. I decided I would take it easy after just finishing up the hard workout.

That worked well for awhile. Erik and I cruised at the back of the pack on Walnut Street. We let most people ahead of us as we just relaxed and chatted. I just can't stand being behind people though. Therefore, we picked up the pace as we got onto the path. The others were very far ahead. I didn't anticipate catching them, but I did want to make up some ground.

Erik has been running slow with his wife to train for Broad Street. Although the pace was faster than he is used to these days, he didn't seem to be laboring at all. I, on the other hand was breathing pretty hard. Certainly the early run took a lot out of me. I we got near JFK, it became apparent that the lead runners were slowing down. We caught them and cruised on by.

We were told to run to the Art Museum. We weren't sure if that meant the Museum itself or Lloyd Hall. We turned and ran to the Museum. I bolted up the stairs. It took awhile for the others to catch up. I was wondering if we even went to the right location. Eventually, we met up and went for a group picture.

I thought maybe I would take it easy on the way back. That probably would've been the smart thing to do. After a long break at the Museum, my legs actually got very stiff. I hung in the back for a short while. Once I got loosened up though, I got cranked up.

As we passed under the Spring Garden Street Bridge, a girl was hanging with me. I quickly lost her and the rest of the group up the short hill though. One guy did hang with me though. Steve, one of our manager Josh's friends, kept with the nice pace. We started chatting for a bit. He was pushing pretty hard and I didn't know if I could hang on. I knew I had to mentally be strong and keep pushing. It isn't often that I get to run this hard with someone else.

We got to the end of the path and the stairs together. I was surprised to see Erik close behind. He worked hard to catch us. When we got to Walnut Street, I was feeling great and really turned it up another notch. I lost the two of them at a traffic light. I think they cruised home a little more, whereas I had to fly like always. I pushed very hard and was really hurting at the end. I was exhausted and sweating. I wore a jacket, so I sweated a lot. It was a tough workout, much more difficult than I had hoped for. I just can't back down though when I have competition.

The Mizuno rep was supposed to run with us. He got stuck in traffic in Maryland though and never made it. I was really hoping to get my shoes tonight. I guess they'll just get shipped to the store. That was a big reason I came out to run. It was fun anyways though. I didn't struggle with the second run as much as I thought I would.

I did do quite a bit of massaging of my legs with both the foam roller and the Stick. That seems to really be a big help, especially with my hamstrings. They aren't bothering me as much as they once were. My back has been a little sore lately, but I'm still feeling strong. I might have to add crunches back into my routine. I haven't done them in over a month, because my belly button was sore.

Tomorrow is scheduled as an easy 4 miler. I am working late in the afternoon, so I want to get the run done in the AM. I'm thinking I might run it on the Ben Franklin Bridge. That is supposed to be a decent hilly workout. I'll probably give it a try, but also take it easy. Thursday is a tough trail run. I think I'll likely take off Friday, since I am running a 5K on Saturday. It should be a fun and challenging remainder of the week.

Run 1
9 miles - 1:04:22 (7:09 pace)
Run 2
3.85 miles - 32:20 (8:24 pace)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Too Much Caffeine

I was a little sore when I woke up in the early morning. I elected to rest some more before going out for my run. I wanted to maximum my rest, so I decided to head out after work.

I was only doing an easy 4 mile run. Rather than waste time walking to the Art Museum or Lloyd Hall, I elected to start the run at my apartment. By the time I got to the Art Museum, it was already half a mile. At Lloyd Hall, I hit a mile.

I headed out on Kelly Drive. At mile 1.5, things got interesting. Before the run, I ate a Hershey's bar. I also ate a few Sport Beans. That gave me a caffeine high at this point in the run. My head was really messed up and it was hard to run. I was wondering if I'd even finish. If I wasn't going so short, I might've quit the run.

Turning around at 2 miles didn't help. It wasn't until I hit 2.5 miles that I started getting a little better. I still never fully recovered, but felt much better later in the run. I ran back down Spring Garden and finished a block from my apartment. It was great to be done.

I nearly caught a runner from behind at one point. He saw me coming up though and took off. Of course, he quit the run before I even caught up to him. I wasn't trying to race him, especially with how weird I felt. His speeding up was just annoying.

My body was only mildly sore. I felt pretty good. My legs were completely fresh, but they weren't hurting either. I was mostly recovered.

I'm actually going to be running in only about 8 hours. I have a hard fartlek scheduled for tomorrow morning. Hopefully I feel strong. I look forward to it as I always do on speedwork days. The weather should be pretty good.

4 miles - 33:34 (8:24 pace)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Longest Training Run

I both love and dread the long run Sundays. They are fun to see how far I can push myself. They are just so tough though and so time consuming. Last week, I ran my first 20 miler of this program. That was my longest training distance during the first marathon too. Therefore, today's 22 mile run was the longest training run that I ever did. The marathon is the only time I've run longer.

Again, I parked near Falls Bridge. I had to go to the bathroom this time though, so I ran to the Prep Boathouse. There was a regatta going on that tied up traffic, but at least it allowed for a lot of bathroom. I ran out about a mile and a half and relieved myself. The out and back in total was nearly 3 miles. It was a nice little start.

Just like last week, I ran through the paved Lincoln Drive path and then on threw to Forbidden Drive. The Lincoln Drive section is tough because it is hilly and paved. That gives the knees a good early pounding.

I was wondering early on if I allowed enough recovery from Friday's hard trail run. My legs were bothering me quite a bit at this point. The opposite of my kneecap from my usual IT band issue, had some minor soreness. Things did get better as I entered the gravel Forbidden Drive path. Less pounding on my legs was a huge relief.

My toes were actually a bit sore, but it didn't bother me too much. I also got used to it. I continued to be amazed at how little the early hills bothered me. I cruised up them on the gravel path. I passed quite a few female runners along the way.

It is so peaceful and calm on the path. I'm really taking a liking to running on it during my long run days. It is definitely better than the overcrowded Kelly Drive. The miles on Forbidden Drive seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, I was at Valley Green.

I originally intended to turn around at this point. I wanted to hydrate better today than last week. This time, I the water fountain was working though. I took a nice long drink and also stopped at the bathroom too. I kept my watching running during that. I decided I would continue on until the 8 mile point.

When I hit mile 8, I was just a few hundred meters from the covered bridge. I just ran to it before turning around. At this point, I was still feeling pretty good. On the way back, I stopped again at the water fountain.

Hydrating better during the run definitely helped. I also grabbed some salt packets from the movies the other night. I ate four of them throughout the run. That didn't taste great, but seemed like a big help. I definitely lost a lot of salt, as usual. My shirt was even stained with it.

Around miles 9 and 10, the hills started to bother me. It wasn't terrible, but the soreness and tiredness that early were tough. I wondered how I would last. Taking some Sport Beans a little later definitely helped. It re-energized me.

I was passed by a lady who was going pretty fast. Chances are that she wasn't going 22 miles, but she was still moving. I was impressed. I don't think anyone else actually ran by me today. Early on on Forbidden Drive, I saw a lot of fast runners coming the other way. I never encountered them on my side though.

Getting through the hilly paved section on Lincoln Drive was tough again. I knew I just had to keep battling and make it back to the car. Drinks were waiting for me there. I was relieved when I finally hit the last hill.

I got back to my car and wolfed down some Gatorade. I actually drank too much and had some side stitches when I started back up. The brief rest was great though. I ran along West River Drive. That section was again boring during this long run. It just seems to go on forever.

I felt like I was slowing, but really my times didn't indicate so. One big thing is that I was able to stay relaxed throughout the entire run. That allowed me to make it through this tough section. I just focused on getting to mile 18, so I could turn around.

I started having my IT band act up around mile 17.5. Thankfully, I turned around shortly after that and it went away. I stopped at the water fountain near Montgomery Drive. My body was hurting a lot before that. I got some side stitches. The water definitely helped. Shortly after, I ate my final salt packet. That was a big boost.

I didn't have much trouble getting to mile 20. I felt much better and stronger than last week. Although I didn't push it, I didn't feel like I was close to cramping either. It felt great to still feel that good that deep into a run.

When I got to my car, I was just over 20.5 miles. I took in some more Gatorade. I decided to run a mile down Kelly Drive and turn around. That would allow me some walking back to the car, so I could recover. My hamstrings definitely started getting sore during the final mile. I had to simply focus on each up coming quarter mile. The last turnaround was a big help.

I was so happy when I finally finished. My last mile was under 8 minutes too. I was still pretty dehydrated, but definitely better than last week. I had more in the tank. I probably could've even laid down another mile. I was excited that I didn't have to though.

Whether it was eating the salt, drinking more fluids or just the 10 degree cooler weather, I didn't felt better today than last week. That said, I still need to hydrate more, especially on race day. I lost about 3 pounds during the run. That is quite a bit. I am going to have to really run at the end of marathon day, not just survive. I won't be able to do that without being well hydrated.

I have two more long runs left. Next week, I am going back down to 18 mile to rest my body a little. The week after that, I'll bump back up to 23 miles. A lot of that will probably be on the marathon course. That will be the real test.

Tomorrow, I have an easy 4 mile run before work. I'll probably run then, because my body seems to be recovering well nowadays. I'm definitely sore at the moment, but not as bad as I'd expect to be. Later in the week, I might have to skip a run, since I'm running a Saturday 5K. We'll see how my body feels after another 50+ mile week.

22 miles - 3:05:29 (8:26 pace)