Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Rampage Nears its End!

It's been 3 straight weekends, 2 separate trips Up North, 2 weeks of work, 1 week of vacation, and lots of juggling of mid-week runs, but the Rampage is nearly complete.

I'm headed to KC tomorrow morning, but this weekend's 16 miler is already in the books. The alarm went off at 4am today, and I walked back into the house at 7:06 after 16 miles in just under 162 minutes, a 10:07 pace, which is just fine for me.

The good news is that now I can head down to KC to celebrate Petey Raindrops' upcoming nuptuals with absolutely no Running Guilt! (There is plenty of guilt associated with leaving one's wife to be sole caretaker to a 15month old boy on a weekend when she has to work each day, but that's another story. At least running isn't in the cards for this weekend.) This trip is all about Baseball, BBQ, Beer, and Golf, and I. Can't. Wait.

I'll have another update, including some photos from the vacation/trips when I get back next week. Till then, keep on runnin'


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Checking in...

Howdy Gang-
Just a quick update from Camp BYT. I'm a little distracted this week in anticipation of these little guys:
No, they don't look like any fun at all, huh? My neices and nephew will be arriving Thursday evening (along with my brother and SIL of course), and we CAN'T WAIT to see them! Even little SYT is super-psyched.

After they hang at our place for a couple days, we all get to go back up north for another week's vacation, so life is pretty good around here, even if I'm "juggling" my runs a bit.

Speaking of juggling, I'll have more information on that later this week hopefully. I did the 13 last Saturday. It got hot on the way back and I had to slow down a bit, but I still came in under the 10min/mile pace, so I'm not too disappointed. I started on Monday this week, so I've already done 3 and 4 miles, but I have to do 7 one day this week before 10 on Saturday morning before leaving town. More on that later. Till then, keep on runnin'...


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Rampage Begins!

If there ever were a time when my dedication to training for this marathon would come into question, we're entering it As you can see (hopefully, pending image resolution), this weekend starts a string of 4 straight weekends where my long runs will be done "on the road," including one in a city I've never visited.

I have a friend- let's call him.....Seven - who loves to ski. His passion for the slopes, free-wheeling nature, "out west" connections, and disposable income led him for several winters to go on an annual skiing "rampage," wherein he would head to Colorado or Montana some 4 or 5 long weekends in a row and nobody would hear from him for a month or two.

I feel like this is my running Rampage coming in August. This weekend, we'll go back up north just for the weekend, and then the following week we head up for another full week's vacation, this time with my whole family. The vacation will be filled with beach picnics, cocktail parties, golf outings, sailing excursions, and my anniversary, so what time I do find to run will be slim and quick. This is definitely a test of what it means to be "in training" as opposed to "working out." I'll have to make time for other things to fit into my running, and not the other way around.

To top off the 3 straight weekends in Petoskey/Harbor Springs, I'm then headed to a Bachelor Party in Kansas City. I have another friend- let's call him....Petey Raindrops....who is marrying the love of his life in September. Before that, we need to give his bachelorhood a proper sendoff in the best way we can- by traveling to see his beloved Red Sox visit the Royals. Unfortunately, I also need to do 16 miles that weekend. Um, yeah. We'll see how that goes.

The way I see it, if I can get to Tuesday, 8/23 still alive, uninjured, and on track, then there's nothing stopping me from hitting my goal (beating my 2009 time of 4:29:45) in October. Until then, we'll see how the Rampage goes.

Lest anyone think I'm not grateful for the ability to spend so much time up north, let me make it clear that I LOVE it up there. If running along the lakefront is the hardest part of my day, I don't really have much room for complaint. Being 3 hours' drive from Little Traverse Bay is a big reason we decided to move to Pure Michigan, and we haven't regretted it for a minute.

But back to the running. Looks like Heat Dome '011 has finally moved on to the east coast. Even though it'll be hot this weekend again, it's always cooler by the lake, so I'm not too worried. My hip pain seems a bit better after more stretching and some rest, so I'm encouraged there. My 12 miler last weekend was done at a 9:40/mile pace including a little bit of walking (I equate it to walking through crowded water stations on race day), so I'm pretty happy with that.

That's all I've got from Camp BYT. I'll have another update probably next week. Till then, keep on runnin'


PS- I actually do have more than 2 friends, but Seven and Petey Raindrops are particularly cool guys!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heat Wave!!!!!

Remember when I said vacation was awesome? This Heat Dome '011 (pronounced "Oh-Leven")is like the complete opposite of awesome. It's like when Awesome clocks out and goes on break, Heat Dome '011 clocks in and answers the phones while Awesome is gone. And let me tell ya gang- Awesome just went on a week's vacation, so Heat Dome '011 ain't going anywhere any time soon. Ugh.

The last 2 days I've had to go to the gym to do my runs (6m Wed and 3m today). I planned on the gym for the 6 miler, but this morning after I got all geared up and headed out the door, I didn't even make it to the end of our block...and we live at the TOP of a hill! There was no way I was going out any further when the Heat Index was already 90 degrees- I simply wasn't going to make it. Ugh.

I'm lucky enough that I can slip over to the YMCA on a lunch break and do a quick 3 or 4 miles, shower, and be back at my desk in a little over an hour. The only problem today was that after showering, the walk back to the car induced an entirely new sweating event, and getting into the car only magnified the effect. It was 2pm before I could show my face back in the office without fear of my shirt clinging visibly to my back sweat. Ugh.

I'm struggling with what to do about the 12 miler scheduled for this weekend. Apparently Sunday is going to be better than Saturday, so I'm tentatively planning on a pre-church run on Sunday morning, starting well before sunrise so that I can leverage the coolest part of the day. Let's cross our fingers...

Dealing with some minor hip pain lately. I'll have more after I consult with the resident Physical Therapist in Camp BYT. Okay, he's a friend from Chicago, but he's a DrPT nonetheless, so this could get interesting.

Till then, keep on runnin'

Monday, July 11, 2011

And We're Back...

...From Vacation. FYI- vacation is awesome. We got back last night from 9 straight days in Pure Michigan, and aside from the nightly booze-fest that comes along with being on vacation with a dozen or so friends in town, I actually stayed pretty much on the straight and narrow. I did my runs on the assigned days, and largely stayed a little ahead of the pace I require of myself (10min/mile). On Wednesday, I actually only ran 4 miles instead of the 5 on the schedule, but I didn't actually have the schedule with me, so I'm chalking that one up to a brain fart.

My long runs were good, and this was the first double-digit weekend run of the program. As I mentioned in my last post, I did my long runs on the Little Traverse Wheelway, a continuous trail that runs all the way north from Charlevoix, through Petoskey, and up to Harbor Springs. My wife's grandmother lives right in front of the path, so it was nice and easy to park at Grandma's house and hit the trail. Here's a stock photo (from from a couple years ago, but the scenery hasn't changed much- and hopefully it never does! This week is a step-back week, so Saturday's run is only 7 miles, but the 3-5-3 schedule is a slight step up for the mid-week activity. This week's rule is no booze. I think I drank enough for two weeks while we were up north.

Side note, I did get in 3 rounds of golf and a tennis match against the lovely Mrs. I won, and she had to buy the ice cream afterwards. It tasted like victory.

All is well in Camp BYT. We booked the hotel for the night before the Marathon last weekend. I'm very excited we'll be staying right across the street from Grant Park, so I'll be able to walk directly over on race day. This will eliminate my pre-5am wake-up call I needed when I lived on Chicago's north side in 2009 (breakfast, "natural break," CTA trains at ungodly hours of a Sunday morning, etc). I'll check in again later this week.

Till then, keep on runnin'


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Here's the Plan...

A few people around the office and a few friends have asked about my training plan-

Why does it take 18 weeks?

How often do you run?

Do you do a run of 26 miles before the Marathon?

...And plenty of others.

I figured I'd attach a jpeg of the training log that I'm keeping on my own computer.

To give full credit, the attached image is mine, but adapted (read: stolen) directly from Hal Higdon's Marathon Training program at

Some of the key points from the program:

1. Yes, it really does take 18 weeks to train. There are 6 "cycles" that last 3 weeks each. The first two weeks build, then the third is a "step back week," with a shorter weekend run. This step back week is important to keep a runner from "overtraining" and getting burned out or injuring him/herself. There are 5 of these cycles, and then a 3 week "taper" period after the longest week of the program as I get ready for race day.

2. Marathoners run 4 times per week. This is important. Adding the weekly mileage and doing it in 2 long runs will NOT be as effective as the act of preparing for, executing, and recovering from a run on four separate occasions. Again, see overtraining above.

3. Tuesday and Thursday are the Short Runs

4. Wednesday is the "Sorta Long" run. This climbs no higher than 10 miles at the peak of the program (which is NOT the week of the Marathon)

5. Monday and Friday are Rest Days. These are as important as the other days to allow the body to recouperate from the soreness and possible repetitive stress injuries the runner incurs (we'll discuss Plantar Facitis at a later date - painful)

6. Saturdays are the Long Runs. They build to only 20 miles, compared to the 26.2 on race day. THIS IS ENOUGH. A runner who can do 20 miles on Saturday after doing 5-10-5 on Tue through Thur certainly has enough strength to do 26.2 miles after a proper 3 week tapering plan.

7. Sundays are for Cross Training. As Hal Higdon defines it, Cross Training includes doing at least 30 minutes of something aerobic with the body. He suggests biking, hiking, walking, swimming, or (for real runner geeks) "light jogging" for cross training. This is an area where I slacked off last time, so I'm hoping to be better about it this time. I think that if I can get out for a 30 min bike ride while still sore from a double digit run the day before, it should help elevate me to a new level of fitness and help me reach my goal of beating my time from 2009. More updates on this as time goes on... Add ImageSo how am I doing? You can see on the image that I'm through the first cycle of up-up-down mileage, but really not at a point where the runs are anything longer than regular workouts. I can still get them in without changing work schedules, and the weekend runs have all be on my regular rota of routes. I've missed one 3-mile run, but I think I'll survive.

This weekend marks the first push upward in weekend mileage, as I go to 9, then 10 on Saturdays before a step-back to 7. It also marks my first travel since the program started, as we'll head Up North to Petoskey on Friday after work for a FULL WEEK vacation. I LOVE running up there, as there is an uninterrupted path along the lakefront that provides a safe, easily marked, relatively flat route through one of the most beautiful lakeside communities in the Great Lakes. Count me in.

I'm also are going to shift the weekday workouts to M-T-W, as there is a 3 mile run in downtown Harbor Springs every 4th of July, which is exactly the distance I need that week. This year's "Paul Revere 4th of July Run" will mark the first time my wife and little guy will run it with me (I'll be pushing the jogging stroller).

So that's the plan. I just realized I hadn't really done a post like this yet, so it was time to get it out there. This way, my loyal reader(s?) will know what I'm talking about as I navigate the program and track progress.

Till then, keep on' runnin',


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And we're off...

Hola amigos,

I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya', but I've really been in some stuff.

Actually, that's not really true. I've just been lazy about chronicling what's going on at the homestead and with my running. Truth is, I've been in the actual training program for over 2 weeks, and it's pretty much business as usual. The runs aren't all that long yet, so nothing really feels like a "training run" as opposed to a "workout." (see earlier post on Working Out vs Training) I'm trying to set my mind into the training mode. One good step in the right direction is that I'm setting the alarm and requiring myself to run in the mornings. When I was just "working out," it was okay to sneak a run into my lunch hour if possible, or just stop at the Y on my way home from work. There was very little structure to it- and I tend to do better with structure.

A few things I've learned since last time I trained for the marathon in 2009:

- I'm 2 years older, and I can feel it.
- West Michigan (specifically, my neighborhood) has a lot more hills than the north side of Chicago, and my legs don't mind reminding me
- My current fitness level is a fraction of what it was last year at this time when I had no job, a new geography, a YMCA membership, a 6 week old baby, and nothing to do but go to the gym and/or run outside. I definitely didn't appreciate where I was a year ago. It really was a whole separate level of training I was doing, and who knows if I'll ever achieve that again. If I had run a marathon last year, I would have crushed my 2009 time. But I didn't, so I'll stop speculating and get back to work on this year

Also, last time I checked in, I was getting prepped with new shoes for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run here in GR. I ran it, but was fairly distracted with SYT's first birthday party later in the day. I finished in about 2:34, which is right about 10min miles. That would have been good enough in years past, but I was 2:19 last year and didn't feel nearly as good about this one (which is probably why I hesitated to talk about it here- who likes celebrating the losses?). Either way, I did it, it's over, and I learned that I have a long way to go before 10/9/11 in Chicago.

Training Update:

Week 1 (miles): 3, 3, 3, 6
Week 2: 3, 3.5, 0, 7
Week 3: 3 (this morning), 4, 3, 5

I've had several other ideas for blog posts, so I'm trying to capture them here. As a preview, I'll have future posts (dates not planned, so don't hold your breath) on:

- Training progress
- Hills vs flats
- Nutrition for training
- Nutrition for wellness
- Training while traveling
- Concentration
- Visualization and positive "self talk"
- Particularly good runs and particularly bad runs
- Cross training
- Training plan construction

... and plenty others. I'll do my best to get updates posted more frequently...I promise?

Till then, keep on Runnin'


PS- Did anyone actually pick up the Jim Anchower reference from The Onion at the top? Google the name- his columns are hilarious