Run from hell

July 16, 2006

The folks at Rogue have a “run from hell”, a 14.5 mile run that starts at RunTex on 1st and Riverside, is flat for 2 miles and then there are 10.5 miles of hills and then the same 2 miles of flat on the way back. The route includes Stratford, Redbud and then a loop through WestLake.

The fall group ’06 Rouge group training for Chicago/NY did this run yesterday. Given the tough nature of the course and the warm and humid weather in Austin it was a accomplishment for the people training for their first marathon and for everybody that’s run one before. This course has to have some of the toughest hills in Austin … and over 10 miles of them!

I’ve done this run a few times and think I’ve got it figured out. One of the things I noticed today when I ran it was how my nutrition habits have changed over the last 2 years training with Rouge. I used to be what we call a “crack” addict (GU at the start and then every 45 minutes … more often during races). Steve (my coach at Rouge) had me wean off the GU after my first marathon training with him. Now I can usually go 2 hours without worrying about it. It is amazing what your body can adapt to, the long easy runs with a good diet during the week have done wonders for my abilty to process energy better where I’m not a slave to glycogen and constantly needing sugar. I still GU like crazy during a race but hey … at that point I’ll take a boost in energy any way I can get it but have really come to appretiate the long runs and easy pace work for getting the body to better process fatty acids and other energy sources.


Have to get something into this blog

July 10, 2006

Since this thing is completely new I thought I should prime the pump. I managed to dig up my race report from Chicago ’04 which follows (I’ll get Boston ’05 and ’06 up soon)

Chicago ’04 Race Report
It was an intersting trip. A summary first and then the details:
My Goal: 03:10:00
My Actual: 03:10:13

It’s a Boston qualifier but those darn 13 seconds are just on the wrong side of the 10 mintues … but overall I’m happy with the run. Of the three people I ran into from the group all four had Boston qualifying time (Brian, Jayna and Marla). The marathon is run very well, great crowd support and the gatorade and water stations had to be 200 meters long.

Now the really long version for my story (which begins on Friday). Brian, Jayna and I catch an early 6:30am flight to Chicago. At some point on the flight Brian asks me what percentage is 1 out of 1 … my response is 50%. You may ask what does this have to do with running … lets just say that my stupidity continued through to the marathon. We checked in at the Sheraton Towers (thanks Brian and Jayna for arranging the room), which by the way has very comfortable beds and pillows. We grabbed breakfast at West Egg (off Columbus), made a trip to Walgreens for water and gatorade … great coupons for both things! Off to the expo we go to pick up the packets.

I get my bib and all, and remember that I need my own chip. I feel around in my pocket and there it is. I’m standing talking with Jayna and realize that I don’t have my chip anymore! I thought I stayed pretty calm (Jayna and Brian will have other opinions I’m sure) and go to the packet pick-up table to see if I dropped it there. Brian and Jayna then tap me on my shoulder and inform me they found my chip on the floor. Stupid act #2 on my part and Brian and Jayna to the rescue once again.

Lunch, another trip to walgreens and then a grocery store. Then it was time for the pre-race carb fest. We’d made reservations at The Italian Villiage, great food and we weren’t rushed … took two and a half hours and I was prowd of the half a loaf of bread and decent portion of pasta I managed to down. Off to the hotel and getting all the gear for the race on Sunday together. Wake up Saturday and we all went for a run to Grant Park where the race would start in 24 hours. Then breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spent part of the day on Michigan Avenue looking at shops etc, maybe a little too much. No stupids moments for me on Saturday (that I remember). Final check for all things to do with the big day. Brain, Jayna and I got all our stuff together, put our post race bag together and off to bed … or at least an attempt to go to bed.

Four alarms go off one after the other around 5:30am. We’re all awake and at this point the nerves may be settling in. Eat half a banana, two advil (I figured this day I really don’t care), a GU (#1), down a 32oz gatoragde. I decide to wear shorts, a singlet, a long sleeve shirt and a t-shirt. Had a hat, gloves and an ear warmer. We all make a check of equipment before we head out of the room. Off we go to the start line, an easy jog that takes about 10 minutes. At the gear check I check in the ear warmer, hat and t-shirt. The weather isn’t too cold … just right. Brian had earned a competivie placement so got to start with the ultra fast folks and Jayna and I were “preferred” so we managed to avoid the masses and only had around 4 thousand people ahead of us. I’m standing 10 feet behind the 3:10 pace group. 20 minutes to go and I get rid of the long sleeve shirt. 15 minutes to go and I take a GU (#2). I have a handly water bottle the size of my palm (thanks again to Brian and Jayna for the idea of that perfect sized bottle, I would have had a massive gatorade botle) to wash the GU down. The bottle is nice the first 4 miles to avoid the mad dash for the gatorade and water on the course. The National Anthem is sung by a Soprano who is running her first marathon at Chicago. The horn sounds and the race begins. People start inching forwards, lots of clothes are thrown. And about a minute later I’ve made it to the starting line and off we go:

Mile 0 – The pace group is quite a bit ahead of me. I decide I ‘m not going to try and catch up with them, I’d have to run 15 to 30 seconds faster than my planned pace of 7:15 and that would be a bad idea.

Mile 1 – 7:15 pace (00:07:14) Wow, I can breath through my nose and this feels great. I’ve locked into my pace, or so I think.

Mile 2 – 7:01 pace (00:14:15) Oops … that’s 15 seconds too fast. I realize I’m going too fast and need to slow down. I start talking with this guy from Boston so that may have something to do with it. He’s been training on his own the whole season!

Mile 3 – 7:07 pace (00:21:22) Still too fast but at least I slowed down a bit. I realize that I better slow down or I’ll pay for this. The original plan was to run at 7:15 for 15 miles and then at 7:10 for 3 to 6. I know the original plan would need to be revised based on this fast start.

Mile 4 – 7:10 pace (00:28:32) Time to take a Gu (#3 of the day) Damn … still 5 seconds too fast per mile. I tell Greg (from Boston) we’re running too fast, he also wants a 3:10 Boston qualifider and tell him I’m slowing down more.

Mile 5 – 7:20 pace (00:35:52) Sweet … I’ve taken it easy. In the back of my mind I know the first 4 miles will come back to haunt me. I’ve decided I’ll take what’s in the bank and adjust my plan and just try and stick with 7:15 to 7:20 miles here on out. Greg is quite a bit ahead of me, I have a feeling I’ll be passing him in a few miles and he won’t be able to stay up.

Mile 6 – 7:10 pace (00:43:02) What’s up with that .. fast again. Slow down damn it.

Mile 7 – 7:18 pace (00:50:20) Nice.

Mile 8 – 7:08 pace (00:57:28) Time to take a GU (#4) Fast again. My quads, especially my right quad, starts to burn and I’m feeling a sharpish pain. My right hip is also stiff, it had been on Saturday and I’d tried to streatch it … is this it for me … no it’s just one of those pains that are normal, I can deal with it and I keep going.

Mile 9 – 7:18 pace (01:04:47) Not bad pace wise. These quads aren’t feeling any better. Guess I’ll just have to keep going.

Mile 10 – 7:11 pace (01:11:58) Can’t complain. I have to do this for another 16 miles at this pace! The mind games begin.

Mile 11 – 7:14 pace (01:19:13) Sweet … I’m on pace. I know it might be too late, those fast early miles will come back to bite me later … I just know they will.

Mile 12 – 7:22 pace (01:26:35) Gu #5. A little slow but hey I have soooo much time already this should be ok. I catch up with Greg.

Mile 13 – 7:13 pace (01:33:49) That’s better.

Mile 14 – 7:11 pace (01:41:00) Opps again.

Mile 15 – 7:20 pace (01:48:20) Gu #6. Going back and forth around 7:15. I guess that’s ok.

Mile 16 – 7:24 pace (01:55:44) That’s a little slow.

Mile 17 – 7:15 pace (02:02:59) Man … I have over an hour to go. This is tough. My legs are sore. But that was 7:15 … sweet.

Mile 18 – 7:12 pace (02:10:12) Nice.

Mile 19 – 7:14 pace (02:17:26) GU #7 Yeah baby!

Mile 20 – 7:23 pace (02:24:49) Maybe this is just one slow mile. It’ll get better.

Mile 21 – 7:17 pace (02:32:07) Back on pace.

Mile 22 – 7:19 pace (02:39:22) Lots of people have started walking. This is a little depressing. We’re running along side a highway. This is the one part of the course where the crowd support isn’t thousands of people screeming you can do it. You’re awesome and so on. If there were one thing I would change it would be to not have a 1.5 miles streatch with the least crowd support at the time most of us begin to feel like crap. I realize it’s all matter of mind over matter for me now. I passing somebody to their left and my right foot gets clipped. I look back and this guy appologizes. That was close. I pass and move to my right and that guy that clipped me is right beind me … what’s up with that. I’m 5’6″ … he’s over 6′ … that draft can’t help him much. I don’t mind him drafting but he better not trip me. I slow down enough where I know he’s not going to like the pace and he passes.

Mile 23 – 7:20 (02:46:46) GU #8. Thought a couple of times about taking this last one, I didn’t want to puke after so much food. Then I thought I either bomb or I puke … I’ll take my chances. Why in gods name am I doing this. Who gives a crap about Boston, I’m just going to start walking … no damn it I’m not … the nasty progressive pace runs Steve made us doing druing the training come to mind and I convince myself that if I can do those I can do this.

Mile 24 – 7:11 pace (02:53:57) Almost there. Lots of people screeming, wistles blowing … who knows all I know is that I have to keep running. Should I start running faster now … no I’m on target for a 3:10 … just stick to the plan and don’t loose it now.

Mile 25 – 7:22 pace (03:01:20) That was a little slow. That’s fine. I’m going to take the next mile easy too and just sprint at the last .2 if I need to. No problem, I’m used to finishing strong.

Mile 26 – 7:25 pace (03:08:27) I’m there baby! I should be at a 03:08:33) and I have 6 seconds to spare to make it under 3:10. I ease up the last .2 … stupid mistake in the making I look up and see the finish line and clock … it reads 03:11:00 … what I should be done at that clock time if I started a minute after the gun went off!. I start sprinting and cross at around 03:11:15, my watch says 03:10:15 … NOOOOOOOO I missed the 3:10 by 15 seconds! So close and just 15 seconds off target. I figured out the error or my ways. That 03:08:27 at mile 26 was actually 03:08:46. The 27 was showing my lap count and not the seconds. If I’d waiting another 5 seconds and seen my watch I would have known that I need to pick it up the last .2 I now have plans to destroy my Timex watch for the betrayal. I’m trying to decide if a baseball bat or something more along the lines of a disection is in order.

I see Brain at the side after I get through the chute and we both sit down on the curb. Both in some pain and a little delireous. There’s more post race info but I need to get to bed now … and if you’re still reading this looong post at this point respond and I’ll continue. Anyway … the race went well. I had a plan, didn’t stick to it, adjusted and then made a tiny mistake at the end. It’s probably as well as I could have run it so I’m very happy. If there was anything I would change about my training … probably a longer run at MGP (18 to 20) miles. But then I don’t know when that would fit in.

What’s up with the blog title?

July 10, 2006

A couple of years ago some of the people I ran with called me a “metronome”, I seem to have a knack for locking into a pace and sticking with it … or easily switching between 10k/mgp/half-mgp pace during workouts. So that’s where “running metronome” comes from, not from any philosophical mumbo jumbo about training with a metronome to control my cadence or anything that fancy.

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