Countdown to the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon! 
The bib numbers are up (#8293), corrals have been assigned (D), and the forecast looks awesome (low 44/high 66, no rain, light winds). Not much left to do but pack up, get on a plane, and run.
This is my 7th marathon, and the first one that I’ve felt more excited than nervous. Is it a combination of having done several before along with two Ironman and multiple half ironman races that puts it into perspective? Is it that I’ve run more miles for this race than I’ve put in for any other race? 
Honestly, no. It’s the fact that I ran California International Marathon just 5 weeks after Ironman Florida and suffered every mile after mile 4. I had terrible GI issues that caused me to stop 4 times and at mile 6 I felt like I had already run 16 miles. All of that and I still PR’ed by 4 minutes. 
As long as I finish the day without a major injury, it has to be more enjoyable than CIM. I was really proud of myself and thrilled with my time, but it was not very much fun. It did show me, though, that I can mentally and physically work my way through 26.2 miles even when I’m not 100%. I ran strong the entire race and never bonked. For the first time I feel really mentally ready for a race.
No matter what happens on Saturday, I’m really proud of myself for all of the hard work I put into training. I only traded out one run day for a bike day. I hit every other workout and I even had to add extra a few extra runs and workouts to accommodate my job. Did I do everything perfectly? I’m sure not. I wish I had continued to lift weights more throughout the training cycle, for sure.
I tried hard, and that’s what counts. I’ll try hard on race day and however it turns out, it is what it is. No shame in that.

Countdown to the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon! 

The bib numbers are up (#8293), corrals have been assigned (D), and the forecast looks awesome (low 44/high 66, no rain, light winds). Not much left to do but pack up, get on a plane, and run.

This is my 7th marathon, and the first one that I’ve felt more excited than nervous. Is it a combination of having done several before along with two Ironman and multiple half ironman races that puts it into perspective? Is it that I’ve run more miles for this race than I’ve put in for any other race? 

Honestly, no. It’s the fact that I ran California International Marathon just 5 weeks after Ironman Florida and suffered every mile after mile 4. I had terrible GI issues that caused me to stop 4 times and at mile 6 I felt like I had already run 16 miles. All of that and I still PR’ed by 4 minutes. 

As long as I finish the day without a major injury, it has to be more enjoyable than CIM. I was really proud of myself and thrilled with my time, but it was not very much fun. It did show me, though, that I can mentally and physically work my way through 26.2 miles even when I’m not 100%. I ran strong the entire race and never bonked. For the first time I feel really mentally ready for a race.

No matter what happens on Saturday, I’m really proud of myself for all of the hard work I put into training. I only traded out one run day for a bike day. I hit every other workout and I even had to add extra a few extra runs and workouts to accommodate my job. Did I do everything perfectly? I’m sure not. I wish I had continued to lift weights more throughout the training cycle, for sure.

I tried hard, and that’s what counts. I’ll try hard on race day and however it turns out, it is what it is. No shame in that.

Six More Days Until Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon!

Tapering is weird on the Hansons Plan. In the last 7 days, I’ve run 6 times for a total of 47 miles. That’s more miles than I ran during my peak week when I trained for Marine Corps Marathon. After Wednesday, they were all easy miles, but it still doesn’t really feel like a taper. Today I ran 8 miles with Mike and a friend, and although my heart rate accurately reflected the easy pace, my legs still feel a little heavy.

The miles just keep on coming this week, with a run every day of the week except one right up until the race and most every run is 6 miles. I really hope my legs juice up before this race.

I’m already freaking out about my Ironman training. I decided to not bike or swim until this marathon is over since I have so many miles invested. That puts me two weeks behind. Mike (ExitRowIron) and I just went through our calendar for the next few months and I’ll be spending a lot of time shuttling our college aged kids back and forth to campuses for school, jobs, and orientation. Add more travel days for our out of town family duties and it seems like I’m going to hardly be home to train until September. 

The idea of doing an Ironman without doing 100% of the training is not something that I am comfortable with. Last year I cut an hour off my time from the previous year. Expectations are going to have to be lowered for 2014. I don’t like having to lower my expectations before training even starts. 

Enough worrying about the next race, time to get ready to go to Kentucky. Weather watch is on and the weather looks awesome. It’s time to figure out what I’m going to wear!!

Good-Bye SOS and Hello Capris!

Today was my last Something of Substance workout (speed intervals, tempo or long run) for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. Now it’s all easy miles until race day. Yipee! Today’s run went well and I hit all my intervals at the pace for my most aggressive marathon goal time. I stayed in Zone 2 until the last 20 minutes when I crept into Zone 3, but stayed far away from AT. Pretty good for 9.5 miles with 6 miles well below race pace. I’m happy with where I am after this workout and feel like I’ve done all I can to get ready. Now it’s time to do some easy miles until race day.

It’s also time to start wearing capris and shorts! There is still some snow on the ground here and the mornings are pretty chilly. This morning was perfect capri weather, so I broke out my new, slightly crazy pair:

Those legs need some sun!

IMFL Training Day #1

Today is the first day of training for Ironman Florida 2014!

I’ve decided that I’m not going to bike until after Kentucky Derby Marathon on April 19th. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do something more with my legs while I’m finishing up the Hansons Advanced Method. I’ve got too many miles invested in this marathon to mess around with the schedule now. Ironman Florida is 30 weeks away- plenty of time to get on the bike after the marathon.

But I am going to go to the pool and do by #1 workout of 2,500 yards. Normally I like to swim, but I haven’t kept up with it in the off season so it’s not going to be pretty. 

Thirty weeks until I’m standing on that beach!

A pair of 10 mile runs capped of this week of training. The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon is just 2 weeks away. I have to make a slight adjustment to the Hansons Plan as it plans for a Sunday race and mine is on Saturday. I will drop one of the weekday quality runs this coming week so that I still get a full 10 days of easy runs.

The schedule has been so tough that I’ve really just been concentrating on getting through it and haven’t given much thought to the race itself. It’s so close! I guess I should start thinking about it. Maybe I’ll get to wear shorts this week and at least test out what I’m going to wear. Shorts- it’s been so long since I’ve worn shorts!!

A pair of 10 mile runs capped of this week of training. The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon is just 2 weeks away. I have to make a slight adjustment to the Hansons Plan as it plans for a Sunday race and mine is on Saturday. I will drop one of the weekday quality runs this coming week so that I still get a full 10 days of easy runs.

The schedule has been so tough that I’ve really just been concentrating on getting through it and haven’t given much thought to the race itself. It’s so close! I guess I should start thinking about it. Maybe I’ll get to wear shorts this week and at least test out what I’m going to wear. Shorts- it’s been so long since I’ve worn shorts!!

March Miles

I hit a new record in March with 254 running miles. Last year my biggest month was 126 miles. Unfortunately, by this time last year I had also biked 660 miles and this year I’ve biked hardly at all. 

It’s going to be interesting to see how this marathon training effects my Ironman season. I know my biking and swimming are going to suffer. I wonder if the 30 weeks until IM Florida will be enough time to make up for the off season swim and bike training that I’ve missed. 

I’m working hard to not freak out about being behind in the other disciplines. On the one hand, I don’t like the idea that going all in on this marathon is going result in a poorer Ironman performance in November. On the other hand, I’ve devoted two full years to Ironman and it feels good to think about something else for a while. Maybe I’ll come back to it refreshed.

We’ll find out next week! Ironman training starts a week from today! I’ll be skipping the bike workouts while I finish up marathon training, but I’ll be hitting the pool. I’m going to try and go to the pool tomorrow and at least see what I can do. Scary!

There’s a couple of things you can’t tell from the picture above. First, that it’s raining, so 10 miles of intervals in the rain with snow still on the ground when it’s supposed to be spring.

The second is that my mind is blown. Before I started this training cycle, I never would have thought that I could run 16 miles on Saturday, 8 miles on Sunday (capping off a 61 mile week), then run 10 miles of intervals on Monday and feel fine doing it. It wasn’t easy but still in the realm of reasonably challenging and with my heart rate staying in the right zones. The workout was 4 x 1.5 mile intervals at 10 seconds faster than marathon pace. I ran mine between 9:10-9:15 which makes me pretty happy. Add in the recoveries and the 2 miles spent warming up and cooling down and I averaged 9:28. 

Even if this marathon does not go well, my idea of how much I can run and how fast I can run has totally changed. I’ll never again say that I can’t run two days in a row, or that I can’t handle a lot of mileage. I’m so glad that I decided to take a risk and change things up. 

Last 16 Miler

Boy, I hope this Hansons Method really works, because I really love the 16 miler. Today was the last of my 16 milers, the longest distance on the Hansons Plan, and it went really well. By stopping at 16, I feel like I’m quitting right before the real damage gets done. And that makes sense- I finished in 2:45, well under the 3 hour mark. All of my reading and my coaching class point to 3 hours as the limit for a training run. After that, the risk of injury far outweighs any additional benefit of going longer.

I’ve run 238 miles in the past month and will hit 61 miles for the week after my run tomorrow, so it’s not that the plan is low mileage. Having a higher level of base miles means that the long run is a lower percent of miles for the week. So today’s 16 miler was only 26% of my total mileage. That means less recovery time and less chance of getting injured. It also means that I can do additional speed and tempo sessions. Today’s pace was supposed to be between 10:00 and 10:15 per mile, and I averaged 10:08. That makes me happy.

If your marathon plan has you running a 20 miler in your peak week and you are only hitting 40 miles for that week, you should rethink your plan. I don’t know how I will do on race day, and maybe next time I will change it up and run some 20 milers, but I’ll make sure that I’m running at least 60 miles a week so that it isn’t more than a third of my total miles. I ate lunch, took a little nap, and now I feel great. I’m actually looking forward to running an easy 8 miles with friends tomorrow. 

Now time for a little taper!

I passed! I’m one CPR class away from being a RRCA Certified Running Coach. If this class ever comes to your town, try to take it even if you don’t want to coach. I learned so much that will help my own running and multi-sport training that it was worth the time and money for that aspect alone.
Yipee!

I passed! I’m one CPR class away from being a RRCA Certified Running Coach. If this class ever comes to your town, try to take it even if you don’t want to coach. I learned so much that will help my own running and multi-sport training that it was worth the time and money for that aspect alone.

Yipee!

Yes, it is still winter in Minneapolis. I had a training group run to coach tonight and the rain we had all day turned to snow around 3:00 this afternoon. By the time we ran at 6:00, we had about an inch of slush and water pooled on the running trail. My feet were soaked in minutes and by the end I had slush caked inside my shoe.

It’s always the rainy, adventurous runs that I remember. They always seem to have the most laughs because what else can you do but laugh. On the last, long uphill, cars were moving over in an attempt to avoid spraying us, but then they would hit the slush in the middle of the road and hit all of us with a spray of wintry mix. I saw the car coming, I knew it was going to happen, but it was still hilarious when the big wave hit.

I never would have gone outside in this kind of weather except I had to run. What a gift- I loved every minute of it.

Coaching

When I was hired to coach for Life Time Fitness, I went through a certification course and received their internal certification. This last weekend, I attended a weekend course given by RRCA to become a RRCA certified coach. Wow, what a great course!

This course reinforced what I already knew and I learned a lot more. It was great to hear that the things I read about on my own and had implemented with my runners are indeed the best practices. I learned more about the reasons why we train a certain way.

The biggest point that I have to keep making with my runners is the importance of running slow on easy runs. Now I have lots of science in my back pocket to help convince them that conversational pace is invaluable.

Now I take an exam (which takes several hours so I’ll be doing it next weekend), get my CPR and First Aid Certification, and that’s it! I’ll be RRCA certified. I also met some amazing people in my class with all kinds of ideas of what to do with their coaching knowledge. Each one had an inspiring story about themselves and about how they want to help others.

So here is some free coaching for you- 70% of your run time should be at conversational pace. I starting doing this when I started heart rate training a few years ago. It works! Now I can tell you that what I learned in the classroom is the same as what I learned from my own experience.

I can’t wait to get out there and share what I learned with my runners!

Slacker or Nuts?

I think it’s natural when you are training for an event to figure that anyone that is training less than you is a slacker and anyone training more is nuts. We have so much invested in how we are doing things that we figure there must be something wrong with anyone doing it differently. It’s not that we’re trying to be mean or judgmental, it’s just a natural human reaction to rationalize the way we do things.

Even though I’ve run 228 miles in the last 30 days, I’m expecting to see and meet some nuts at my RRCA coaching course tomorrow. I’m sure that they will be nice and warm and that I can learn a lot from them, so I’m looking forward to it. But there is no denying that endurance sports attract nutty people. It will be funny to see everyone in their Boston Marathon jackets, trying to prove that they are legit. Maybe under our names on our name tags we’ll have to list PR’s.

I’m thinking about bringing a few Diet Mountain Dews and sitting right up front. That ought to solicit a few comments about poisoning myself. And what to wear? Do I wear the Ironman or Marine Corps jacket in an effort to at least get a little respect or go with something cute and laid-back like yoga pants and a comfy sweater?

Maybe I should just constantly tell everyone that after class I have to go and get my 10 miler done(which I do). Or maybe I should go the complete other way and say I need to take a smoke break. 

It’s a miracle I actually have friends that are willing to train with me.

Training for Kentucky Hills

Minnesota is flat.

Well, at least here in the west metro of Minneapolis it is very flat. It makes running and biking a lot easier but it makes it harder to train for courses in other parts of the country. Even courses that are described as “flat” by locals in other states seem like crazy hills to us.

Just 30 days until the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, so now that I’m able to get outside with firm footing, I’ve been hitting the hills as much as possible.

Today was 11 miles total with 9 at tempo. My tempo pace is 9:30. When I trained for Ironman, my normal pace was 9:40 so you would think that 9:30 would be no big deal. Sixty miles a week on the legs makes just 10 seconds faster than my normal pace seem scary. Add the two inches of snow we got last night and a bunch of hills and it was quite a workout. Here is what constitutes hills around my house:

Even with the snow and hills, I hit all my splits:

This plan has a pretty light taper and these tempo runs continue right up to the second to last week of training. The next 3 weeks have 10 miles at tempo with a mile warm up and cool down so 12 miles total. That’s going to feel like racing a half marathon a week for three weeks. 

The first 10 weeks of Ironman training is going to feel like the off season compared to this.

Hey, I was on television today!

A small cable news channel in the Minneapolis north/northwest metro did a Health Check segment on marathon training. They asked me to be the “expert” and I got to pick a runner from our training group to talk about her training. It was really fun! I love that her passion really comes through and I’m happy that I was able to string a couple of words together.

Today I was a coach and tomorrow it’s back to being a runner. The tempo runs are the most intimidating for me because they are so long. We are supposed to get  inches of snow overnight, so 11 miles on the treadmill with 9 at tempo pace unless they get the plow out on the sidewalk early. Scary!!

This morning was the Get Lucky 7K. No fun pictures, just one of the bezerk amount of people waiting to go out and line up in the cold. Nothing to report- just ran along with some friends and chatted. Easy miles to wrap a long Hanson’s week. Tomorrow is the precious day off I’ve been saving. I need it! 

In other news, I sold my old Felt B14 which is good and bad. I put it on Craig’s List and the offers started pouring in. I had someone buy it within 24 hours, a firm back-up offer and someone else asking to come see it, all offering the price I was asking. I guess this is a good time to sell a bike. I’m glad I sold it so easily but I miss it already. It was a great bike. We were like peas and carrots, fitting together so nicely. I love my new bike, but we haven’t been out on the roads yet so it’s still a new relationship. I’m sure I’ll love the new one even more than this one, but… sniff, sniff, it was hard to give this one up.

Maybe a little trainer spin on my new one tomorrow will help ease the pain.