Friday, October 28, 2011

Monument(al) Run

It has been a few since my last post - work and life interrupted me being able to post. It didn't stop me from running, though. In fact, over the last 13 days, I have run just over 64 miles at an average pace of 8:34 min/mile and an average HR of 134 BPM. Since I am in the taper phase for the ING NYC Marathon, the mileage isn't as high as it has been over the last few months, but I am pleased with where I'm at right now.

While none of the runs were that incredibly spectacular, I did have a few good ones. My latest run was scheduled to be an easy 5 miler. I was in DC on business, so I had the pleasure of being able to wake up and pretty much roll out to the National Mall.
Photo Credit: Running Weatherman
The run couldn't have been better - perfect weather, amazing scenery and good company helped the miles pass by easily. I didn't look at the watch at all (except to start and stop). After plugging the data into Training Peaks (love, BTW), I was shocked to see what I found. We ended up doing 5.7 miles at an 8:00 min/mile pace! I really didn't know and the proof of that is in my HR data - I averaged only 122 bpm. Shocked! I typically haven't enjoyed the taper, but apparently, my body is truly benefiting from it!

I have 8 days until the big race. I know that I have put in the training and I am confident that we'll do well. I have a few more easy runs to log and I am really looking forward to them. In fact, thanks to Scott over at @irunnerblog and iRunnerBlog, I have decided to run the 6th Annual Anna's Angels 10 Miler on Sunday. I'll take it easy and just enjoy the experience - plus, the race helps provide funding to promote research for Down Syndrome.

Do you enjoy the taper? Have you ever entered a race knowing that you were not going to race - to just enjoy running with others?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beating the St. Louis Blues

At the beginning of the week, I was off to St. Louis for some much needed management training. You know the place, the Gateway to the West...

It was a great trip. Joining more than 50 of my colleagues from around the country, Mexico and Canada, we spent a lot of in "class" discussing case studies and hearing from senior leadership. To keep from suffering from that "cooped" up feeling, I had to run!

My favorite part of the trip - the opportunity to run with one of my colleagues from Vancouver. We had a great run and were able to spend some quality time talking about our shared passion for running. One of the cool things she shared was that she is participating in a running study that is looking at minimalist running. Definitely sounds cool.

While there, I got two good runs in around the Washington University campus. Thankfully the weather cooperated and the runs were early enough to be super enjoyable.

The runs pretty much allowed me to keep on track with my ING NYC Marathon training plan. I have my last long run this weekend. Looking forward to getting it done and then beginning the taper!

Thanks for the pics, Jen!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mental & Physical Preparedness

"Luck is for people who don't prepare." - unknown

I can't think of a more supportive quote for today's post. I can say that because I know that I am well on my way to being fully prepared for the upcoming ING NYC Marathon. It is a mere 33 days and some hours away from today. I still have one more big mileage week and I am really looking forward to it. Then, before I know it, taper time will be here.

I've only done two other open marathons, the ING Hartford Marathon and the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. Hartford was my first and I was totally unprepared for the race. I lied to myself throughout my training - telling myself that I was doing great. While my speedwork was amazing, I was not putting in the time to log any real endurance miles. I finally crossed the line in 4:10:23. Disappointed, yes, but no one to blame but myself.

My second was in Burlington, VT. Read about it here. I was so much more prepared for this race. I put in the time and distance and had some great long runs. However, Ted and I didn't cross until 4:16:32. This was Ted's first marathon and it was all about getting the experience - getting prepared - so I can't be disappointed in the result at all.

On Saturday, I woke up early - earlier than I wake to go to work during the week - and drove over to Umstead State Park. I had only run there one other time and got lost, so I was really looking forward to getting on a different trail that I had mapped out and studied extensively on Friday night. At 6:10 a.m., I set off in the dark (this is important to note for later). I did not pace the first few miles well and my HR was spiking all over the place. This gave me some serious pause, but I stuck with it and trusted my plan. I finally fell into a groove between miles 9 and 10 and was ready to bring it home.

On my way back in, I did some quick calculations and realized that I was going to finish back at the car about a mile short. I figured I would just add in a short out-and-back to hit an even 20 miles. Somehow, though, I missed a turn and ended up heading off in the wrong direction. After not seeing any landmarks that I recognized, I had to stop and consult a map. How could I miss this?

Once I figured out where I was, I turned around to head back up the hill I just descended and backtracked until I found my way out of the park, back to the car. I did 20.91 miles in 3:03:38 for an overall pace of 8:46. This is my marathon goal pace (for a 3:50 mary...a PR). I feel confident with this goal, partly because I finished the run so strong. Check out these stats:
Mile 15 - 8:11
16 - 8:11
17 - 8:27
18 - 8:52 (climbing the hill back to the right trail)
19 - 8:07
20 - 8:05

Check out this elevation profile:

And an overview of the 20.91 mile map:

As I said earlier, I've got one more big mileage week to go. I back it down a little this week, then back up for another weekend 20 miler and then it is taper time. I will feel super prepared after I bag the 20 miler on October 15/16, but for now, I will just enjoy my "high" and the satisfaction that I am putting in the work to finish strong on November 6.

As the Roman philosopher, Seneca, said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." While everyone is wishing me luck as I take on 26.2 miles again, I will graciously say thank you - knowing that my "luck" comes from my preparation.