Post Marathon Running in Indiana

It is ten days following the marathon and it is time for a workout.  I am following Hal Higdon's Advanced Post Marathon Training Plan and it just happened to work out that my daughter's were supposed to run a workout today as well.  We are currently in Indiana spending time with family for the holidays and so the running is a little bit different than what we are used to.  Luckily, there is an asphalt trail system called The Sugar Creek Trail that starts/ends just a mile from the house that we have been able to use.

Yesterday we were dropped off at the far end of the trail near the bridge and the creek.  We ran the trail system all the way back to the beginning and then the mile back to the house.  The trail starts by running a couple miles down an old railroad bed and ends at a road.  There is a sign but it is not very clear and we had to guess as to which way to go.  The trail then runs about a mile on the country roads before meeting back up with the trails to finish off the last mile.

Reflecting on my marathon training and preparation

Now that I am about a week past my second marathon, The Soldier Marathon, and I have had time to reflect on the marathon, the training, and the preparation I need to put into writing what I think I did right, and what I may not have done so well.  What about my training would I have changed, and what worked in that last week of preparation and what didn't?

When I started this marathon training back in July I made some plans on what I was going to do.  I told everyone that I wanted to lose 20 lbs from the current 183 that I was.  If I told you I met that goal, or even tried very hard I would be lying.  I am currently the same that I was on that very optimistic day back in the middle of summer, and yet I am now facing the unforgiving "They plump when you cook em" holidays.  This doesn't change the fact that I still want to do something about it, it is just not the best time of year to set that goal in motion.  Last year for my first marathon I weighed only 177.

Soldier Marathon 2010 - 3:58:03

My second marathon, The Soldier Marathon, is now in the books, with both a PR, and a Sub 4 hour finish.  If you would have asked me throughout my training how I thought I would do you would have gotten so many differing answers depending on when you asked.  If you would have asked me at the beginning of the training you may have gotten an unsure answer of, I may be able to do better than last year.  If you would have asked me in early September, about midway through my training, you would have gotten a much more up beat answer and probably a goal somewhere around 3:45.  Once again, if you would have asked me just 2 weeks later you may have gotten the answer that I may not even be able to run it given that I had just pulled a calf muscle.  Of course, even though we don't believe it when they happen, injuries do heal and we do get back to running.

My views once again started to change and become more optimistic when I ran the 13.1 Marathon series Altanta Edition.  This race once again gave me hope that I would complete the marathon.  It wasn't till my taper and just one week out from race day that I actually set my goal of sub-4  My calf and Achilles was still bothering me somewhat and I knew I had missed a key long run, but I knew if I didn't set a stretch goal I would never make it.

Shaking it out the day before the marathon

I am just back from 2 miles to shake out the legs the day before the Soldier Marathon.  I took it really really easy and ran on feel and not by the watch.  It still turned out to be very close to marathon pace..... let's just hope all those miles are this easy tomorrow :)

I am still not feeling great (sick runner) but today's run proved that all the breathing passages are cleared for takeoff.  If I feel this good tomorrow I will be fine.  I just need to keep on my eating plan (my plan) and keep the fluids flowing and all will go good.

I am getting ready to head out for some breakfast with my wonderfully supportive wife and then take care of some last minute errands and then we will be heading off to Columbus to hit the expo, pick up my bib and chip, and then take it easy the rest of the day.

Wish me luck! :)

Only Three Days..... and I AM GETTING SICK!

All the many miles of training, the lost sleep, the changed schedules, and the sweaty clothes are all coming down to this one event - The Soldier Marathon.  I can't believe it is only 3 days away, but even more so, I can't believe my sinuses are starting to act up.  Really????

Last night and this morning my throat started to hurt.  This is not a good sign.  This is usually the start of a really kicker sinus infection or messed up tonsils.  I usually can slow this type of sickness or even stop it by getting out and running to get the blood pumping and all the passages all cleared out, but I have one small problem...... I can't run, because it is taper time!

Please, please, please!

What am I eating? The days before The Marathon

One of the things I told myself after finishing my first marathon is that I would do a better job eating and fueling for the next one.  Last year in my first marathon I hit the wall at 21 miles and in retrospect I am confident much of the reason for that was a lack of fuel both during and before the race.  I was feeling great up to that 21 mile mark and out of no where my body said "I'm done"

One thing I never really thought much about before this attempt was the way I ate the week leading up to the marathon.  In all my races, and even in last years marathon I really only thought about the one meal that everyone talks about - the carb loading you do the night before a race, especially a marathon.

Georgia Cross Country State Championships

Yesterday was the 2010 Georgia Cross Country State Championships.  This year was Payton's second year running cross country and the second year she qualified for and ran in the state meet.  Last year as a freshman she earned the seventh spot late in the season and finished with a season best and PR at the time at 20:23.  She finished 7th for her team and 56th overall out of 211 in the 2009 State Championship Race.  The team finished 3rd in state last year in the AAAAA classification.

This year Payton was running solid all year long, PR'ing early in the season and not looking back.  She had one tough race where she was sick while running, but the rest of the season she progressively lowered her times and continued to learn and run smarter all the time.  She ran ranked first for her team most of the year mainly due to some other girls injuries.  Luckily for the team those girls were on the mend and came back strong to help the team finish great in yesterday's state meet.

15 Miles To Go

I am sure if I checked any map it would tell me that it was much further than 15 miles to get to Columbus Georgia from where I am now, but if you checked my marathon training plan you would find that 15 miles is exactly the distance left before arriving at Columbus and the Soldier Marathon.

Yesterday I finished off one last harder/faster run when I ran a 4 mile tempo run at a progressive pace.  I ran the first mile at a conservative pace and then kicked it up each mile to finish off the last mile at a 7 minute pace.  The run felt great and it is so nice to see speed after being in marathon training for a while and focusing on distance.

Cross Country Regionals

Region 8 AAAAA isn't the hardest cross country region in Georgia, but it is definitely one of the hardest and fastest.  This past Saturday was Regionals for my daughter's Ashlee and Payton.  Brookwood is in Region 8 AAAAA and they weren't running till around 10:30, which was one of the latest races they ran all year.

The Brookwood girls swept both the JV and Varsity races and both Ashlee and Payton played a key part in those wins.  Both of them had a great day and ran great despite the late start of the race and the seemingly slow times that everyone was crossing with.  In cross country the top 5 for each team are the scorers for the team and both of them crossed 5th overall in their respective races.

The Home Stretch (aka taper)

It is hard to believe that the time has already come to taper.  So many things go through your mind when this time comes.  Have I trained hard enough, long enough, smart enough, or even the most basic have I trained enough?  Sometimes I catch myself wondering - will I even make it?  I am sure for those that run all the time, or those that are hopelessly optimistic that type of question never comes up, but for people like me it sneaks into the realm of possibility every now and then.  Then the questions and doubts start to come up about my calf.  Will it hold up, give me trouble, or will it leave me half way out on this mostly out and back course with a DNF and crushed ego?  So many things start crossing your mind during this taper time, but the one thing I need to remember is there is very little I can do to change the outcome of the marathon that is eagerly awaiting me at the end of this training journey.