Change of Plans

This week has been spent reading. First, my tendons needed some extra time to get back to normal. I didn't want to push them back into training and incur an injury that had me out for a month. Then I'd really have a lot of time to read. Second, my efforts in the 20-miler and the marathon left me feeling something in the training plans weren't correct. The 3M Half Marathon was great. I felt great and felt I gave it a good effort. Anything over 13 miles was distastrous. Granted there was a 20-30mph wind during the 20-miler and I caught the flu ten days before the marathon but even with those obstacles, there should have been better times. From what I've been reading, when there's a discrepancy between the half-marathon and the full, it would normally point to the mileage. Not enough miles.

Looking at my training schedule that would be accurate. I only got to a maximum of 37 miles-per-week before I caught the flu. I based the schedule on not getting injured. I accomplished that goal but failed at the other, which was to achieve a decent time. I mixed in two types of intervals, hills, weights, and tempo runs. I did everything but get in the miles at the start of the program.

I can also look at where my heart rate was for the marathon and see I was utilizing primarily carbohydrates for my fuel. I was runing high in the anaerobic region for all of the race, except when I walked and by then, the damage had been done. My 168 HR put me at 90% of my maximum HR. So lesson learned. Instead of planning my triathlon training, I'm back at the drawing board figuring out a better plan for the marathon. Yes, I know I said never again. I know I said half-marathons are better races, i.e. half the distance and twice as much fun. But I have unfinished business here. Until I can run a comfortable marathon with a decent time, I'll constantly be wondering "what if". That's why the bike's handlebar still isn't taped. That's why my floor at home is strewn with running articles Googled with every coach's plan to run a successful marathon and their training methods.

It'll take some more time to see how the schedule will play out. Until then, I know I need to build on the aerobic base that's there. Long slow runs for the next couple of months. I'll still be working for the triathlon races, which will include long slow swims and long slow bike work. Mileage up, intensity down.

I think I bought into a couple of the plans that said I could complete a marathon even though I have lack of time. Fulltime job, kids, home, etc., all make for less time. Rather than state the runner should bag any idea of running a marathon without pain or a possible DNF, the adjust the plan so it seems it can be accomplished. Less miles but more intense miles, or intense miles then walk a little. Well I stepped in that pile of doodoo once. I'm now off find the right mix of miles.

I'm reading as much as I can get my hands on from the following coaches, so if you have any advice for what worked or didn't, please feel free to share.

Currently reading and absorbing;

I Have My Legs Back!

After spending the last two days walking as if I needed a walker, I finally have some mobility back. I put the legs through a workout with some light weights on various machines and then submerged them into the whirlpool for about thirty minutes, followed by a rub down with extra strength Tiger Balm.


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Gilbert's Gazelles Video

If you haven't seen Gilbert's Gazelles in action, the Austin American Statesman has a video of them going through some drills.


The culmination of eight months of training. The culmination of the Distance Challenge. The Freescale Marathon came and went and left me a little disappointed that it's all over. In fact, it's not over but the first phase of many more challenges.

The Freescale Marathon was brutal. Having the flu last week and the weather not cooperating didn't help. Many thought the freezing temps were good for running. I felt different. I would have liked a starting temperature in the forties, much like the 3M Half Marathon, and no precipitation.

Now that the Distance Challenge is over, I can pick and choose my races, even waiting until the last minute. I'll select the ones that have the right weather, the right distance, the best route and the best organization. After running in sub-freezing rain, I don't think many of those will be on the list.

Below is a little play-by-play for each mile of the race. HR = Heart Rate.

Drive-1:00Sitting in trafficI'm not going to be able to stretch
Pre-Start-2:00Stripping off sweat pantsI better pee
Start0:00Watching deer run pastThat's a cool start
110:11ManeuveringWhy do walkers line up at the front?
29:15ManeuveringStarting to thin out. HR 160
39:11Settling into a paceThis isn't so bad
49:14Starting to sweatBetter take off a layer.HR 165
59:14Removing the top layerProbably need to remove another
69:07Taking off the second layerMuch cooler but not sweating. HR 167
79:07Picking up the pace. Legs are numb.Feeling good though
89:35Water breakNeed to find a better way to mix my drinks
99:06Good paceThere's the Pink too-too guy! Hilarious. HR 168
109:40Passing the free Gummy BearsBeen there, done that. Hands are numb.
1110:07Stop to get rocks out of shoesArgh!
1210:07Getting passed by the Running ElviI want to do that. HR 168
1311:10Splitting from the Half MarathonersNothing better than running into the halfway point with the Running Elvises
1411:43Eating Clif ShotsCranberry flavor's not so bad
1510:30Taking Endurolytes for early crampsI should have tested these on a pre-race run. Damn! Whoever suggested putting Gels in the glove was wrong. It just burst. Sticky hand for another 9 miles. Great.
1611:30Stop to get my food belt tightenedShould have checked this beforehand. HR 142
1711:32Starting to stiffen upThe rest is not going to be easy. Hands and mouth numb.
1812:22Hands and mouth are numb8 more miles is doable. HR 138
1915:00Stop to say hi to Teresa, Kayla & MomThis should get me further down the road.
2016:38Feeding on more Clif Shots and EndurolytesI'm really tired of lemon lime
2113:00Pick up the pace through UT into DowntownMost of it's done. HR 146
2214:46Cramping in quads and calvesI wish the numbness would come back
2314:32Out and back for three milesMinor hill but they feel big
2416:52Making the last turnAlmost home. HR 132
2516:02Stopping for a beerIt can't hurt at this point
2620:00Not stopping anymoreFrom the comments, I know I look as bad as I feel
26.21:19Crossing the lineHalf Marathons are good distances


Many Austinites braved the icy, cold temperatures and stood on the corner in support of the runners. People handed out oranges, Gummy Bears, pretzels, M&Ms and even beer. Many predicted the bands wouldn't show up. They did and then some. It seemed like every half mile at least one or more people were playing their instruments and some were even blaring. The band at the UT football stadium definitely could be heard for miles. They had to be colder than the runners standing in one place.

So an end to Phase One and the beginning of Phase Two. Phase Two incorporates triathlon into the mix. Not an Iron Man or 70.3, more like a sprint or Olympic distance event. I have slotted the River City 10-miler for next month, but I may sit that one out, take it easy for awhile and may volunteer to work the event. I'll look at the event from the other side for a change.

One of the things I realized throughout the last eight months is that I need to be in shape to cover 150% to 200% of the distance of the event. Notice I said cover. That means to run a 26.2 mile marathon, I need to be in shape to cover 39-50 miles so that I can actually do well running the 26.2 miles. It's not that I want to compete, I just don't want to experience the pain and agony during the event. I want to enjoy the experience. This was not the case today but it will be next time.


Back On Track

I don't know of anyone that likes to be sick . However, after working out tonight my knees did feel better with six less pounds to carry and maybe it was worth it if everything recovers as it should before Sunday. I started with some spin work for twenty minutes and then progressed to the elliptical. I then got on the treadmill and ramped up the mph until I got to a 9:00/mile pace for about fifteen minutes. Nothing out of alignment or slugglish on any of the machines. The only thing I noticed was a decreased amount of oxygen intake with each breath. I decided to take a long steam sauna to try and open up the lungs. It also allowed me to sweat out some of the flu remedies I'd engested this past week. I feel back on track.

A Tough Way to Make Race Weight

The sweats and chills stopped. My temperature went back down to 98.6 for more than 24 hours. The scale this morning reflected 154 pounds. Six pounds lost since last week. Six pounds lost since forever, when I couldn't get below 160.5. What a way to get to race weight. I wonder if my subconcscious mind had this planned all along as I wasn't making progress to drop the weight for the last eight weeks?

The power of your subconscious is enormous. It inspires you, it guides you, and it reveals to you names, facts, and scenes from the storehouse of memory. Your subconscious started your heartbeat, controls the circulation of your blood, regulates your digestion, assimilation, and elimination. When you eat a piece of bread, your subconscious mind transmutes it into tissue, muscle, bone, and blood. This process is beyond the ken of the wisest man who walks the earth. Your subconscious mind controls all the vital processes and functions of your body and knows the answer to all problems.

...You can discover the miracle-working power of your subconscious by plainly stating to your subconscious prior to sleep that you wish a certain specific thing accomplished.
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Dr. Joseph Murphy

Watch out for what you wish for. It just may happen, but not in the way you invisioned. At least it wasn't by way of food poisoning.

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Common Cold?

From Runner's World Magazine

According to Dr Gregory W. Heath, an epidemiologist, runners have only half as many upper-respiratory infections as the general population. But in the middle of heavy training, that protection dwindles, making pre-race colds common among marathon runners.

In a survey of 2,311 participants in the Los Angeles Marathon, Dr David C. Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science, found that 40 per cent of them caught colds during the two-month pre-race period. (These months, January and February, are the peak cold/flu season in the USA.) Training more than 60 miles a week doubled the risk of infection. Also, in the week following the race, 13 per cent of marathon finishers caught colds, compared to 2 per cent of those who didn’t race.

Save your high-mileage training for the spring, summer and autumn months when the risk of infection is lower. Get fit enough so that a week lost to flu won’t be that much of a setback. Taper early to prevent last-week problems. And make certain that you take post-race precautions against catching a bug since your resistance will be at its lowest then.

I can almost pinpoint when it happened. Super Bowl Sunday. I went out for a nine mile run, ran the first 4.5 miles hard and took in a lot of wind and sun during the afternoon. This run following two weeks of three-a-days and two-a-day workouts so my immune system was down.

2005 Marathon Participant Report

Marathon Guide came out with their report on the 2005 Marathon season. They slice and dice the stats for a comprehensive look at 2005.


Bianchi Handlebar

I found some time this weekend to get the new handlebar mounted. It took some work as the Bianchi required a quill stem and one that would fit the oversized width of the handlebar (31.8 mm). The guys at Jack and Adam's Bicycles came through with a lightweight option, both in terms of pocketbook and physical weight. An adaptor ran through the horizontal stem. Sweet! Jack and Adam know their stuff so visit their shop online or in person if you're in town.

The aero breaks went on well, as did the new cabling. The shifters are in perfect position and are also ready to go. I'll post a photo or two after I get the bar taped up.

Workouts have been uneventful the last few days. I've done two-a-days or three-a-days and they're starting to take their toll, both on the weight and the energy felt during the workouts. By taking in fewer calories, I have less to work with and I really noticed it during a nine-mile run yesterday. Bonk from the start. I was still able to get a 42-minute 4.5 mile run on the Town Lake Trial, and took it easy for the second 4.5 loop (52 minutes). The knees felt a little strained, so I'm taking it easy on them today. Core and a light 3-mile run are planned for.

I had a BIA test at People's Pharmacy on Friday. They were doing a special with free testing for limited time so I took advantage. It seems my Taylor BIA device is 5 percentage points off, in terms of fat mass. Friday it measured 21% fat mass, while the device at People's measured 16%. Good news in terms of the real number, but it's still a little high for a distance runner. I'll give the diet a couple more days to get it down to 14% or 15% before I get back to the normal diet in prep for Freescale. Other readings came in normal, 7.2 for a Phase Angle and 59.4 for Intracellular Water.

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Back on the Diet and Schedule Mods

The celebration, post 3M Half Marathon, is now officially over. The last couple of days I downed a cheeseburger, a cinnamon roll, several breakfast tacos and a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches. No weight harm done (still @ 160) and it felt good to let loose of the diet for two days. Now, with the Freescale Marathon three weeks away, it's back on the wagon to try and shed these five pounds that don't seem to go away. The first sixteen dropped off when I had a routine of three-a-day activities, whether it be walking, running, biking or whatever. I've decided to go back to the three-a-day schedule to try and shed the last five pounds.

I reworked the schedule to include a morning, noon and night activity. Not too much intensity these last three weeks to get injured or to torture the fitness I've already built up, but a schedule that allows the body to gain at least get another week of fitness between now and Feb. 19, weighing five pounds less.

Today was day one of the new schedule and it worked pretty well. An hour and a half of activities, broken down into half hour segments. Yoga, planks and arm resistance this morning, a three-mile run at noon, with a five minute elliptical warmup followed by leg weights. I may even have to count some calories between now and then.

Post 3M Thoughts

During the 3M Half Marathon, I decided to jettison the Jeff Galloway approach to running. The run/walk method of running. If it didn't work, I could always use the race as training and be better for the marathon. The funny thing was that by not stopping, I felt better. It seemed I stiffened up when I stopped so by continuously moving, except for water breaks, my hips and knees didn't get a chance to stiffen up. By not stiffening up, I had to use less mental voodoo to get going again. I'm not saying that his approach doesn't work. He has proven it has for many runners, I'm just not one of them during race day.