Boston 2010 Race Recap

April 21, 2010

The race didn’t go according to plan but it’s a marathon, and it’s the Boston marathon so not going according to plan should be expected. Coming into this weekend my goal was to run somewhere in the 2:48 to 2:49 range and break 2:50. My training had been at 2:45 paces this season so this seemed reasonable given the physical and mental difficulty of the Boston marathon course. What I ended up running was 2:53:27, my second fastest marathon and a Boston PR by over 7 minutes. This is the best I could do on the day and I’m satisfied with it.

The race did reinforce the to me that to perform at my potential I need to be mentally committed to my goal early on in the season and have that in mind during my training, in the weeks leading up to the race and on race day. That is something I didn’t do this season and that more than anything else is why I think I didn’t manage to race at a level my training would have indicated me capable of. When this season started I said to myself if I’m in 2:45 flat marathon shape I’ll try to break 2:50 at Boston, otherwise I’ll try to run a sub 3 hour marathon and pace some team members.

I was training at 2:45 paces but mentally I just wasn’t hungry enough this season. Other things in life including work had to take priority in my mind over a command performance at Boston. Do I regret that, kind of but not really. Running is what I do for fun, it needs to be what helps me relax and if it becomes the source of stress in my life I don’t think I’d continue doing it. So the 2:53 marathon I ran at Boston two days ago is what I deserved based on what I put in and I’m happy with it.

The race started off well. Muz and I planned to hold our effort in check until we reached the Newton hills. Our goal was to average 6:25 to 6:30 minutes per mile for the first 16 miles. We were a little fast the first 3 miles but got things back in check. We avoided getting carried away like others when there were lots of people screaming, running according to our race plan.

By mile 6 my quads were sore, a similar feeling to the end of our race prep working when I’d already run 24 miles. I figured I’d just keep going at the 6:25 to 6:30 pace range and see if things got better by the Newton hills at mile 17. After the half way point Steve joined us on the course and ran 3 miles with us. The first one I was still on pace but soon was in the 6:35 minutes per mile range and knew I’d struggle from there on. Muz was just ahead of me, looked back and saw I’d dropped a bit and slowed up. He must have thought he was running too fast and I told him to keep going, he’s fine and that I need to adjust. Off he went, I had him in my sight through the hills and he continued to run strong after the hills and finished under 2:50

The original plan was to pick my effort up in the Newton hills to my 2:45 marathon MGP pace effort. I decided I’d try it even with the sore squads. You just never know in a marathon how your body will respond. I did fine on the first hill but my legs just stopped responding after that, I had no push-off. The original plan also called for pushing to Steady pace (6:10) after the Newton hills so once again I tried to surge. My surge effort put me at a 6:30 pace at mile 23 and after that if it wasn’t downhill where I could let my body just roll forward I couldn’t get any significant push-off. The final miles were at a 7:00 minute/mile pace and mentally some of the toughest miles I’ve ever run in a marathon.

In the 7 marathons I’ve run before this I never experienced what I did on Monday where my body just wouldn’t respond. The surges were an attempt by me to snap my mind and body out of the pain but it just wasn’t enough. As I said earlier a lot of this probably has to do more with my mental state leading up to this race and during it. My heart just wasn’t in it, I was going through the motions and didn’t have the right attitude to perform at peak.

The real dilemma for me is my training and racing moving forward. My goal is to break 2:45. I know I should take it easy and break 2:50 first but I’m being honest … my goal is to break 2:45 … end of story. The question I haven’t answered to myself though is do I really want it and am I going to mentally commit to making it happen. There are a lot of unknowns as far as the rest of my life through the end of the year so I can’t answer this yet. But it is something I’ll be spending quite a bit of time thinking about over the next month and a half before the team starts training for CIM. Talking about the team, I can’t say enough about the people in Team Rogue. I find myself motivated to run and perform well by the example many of they set. If I do commit to making a go at a command performance at CIM each of them will be a big part of the reason I would prioritize this over other things in life.


Updated 2010 Boston Marathon Race Plan

April 12, 2010

A slight modification to my race plan that I posted last week. I’m going to go out a little more conservatively, between 6:25 and 6:30 for the first 16 to 17 miles and then pick up the effort through the hills. The hills will be slower but instead of a 6:25 ish effort I want to be closer to what a flat 6:15 would feel like. Then once we get through the hills I’ll pick it up as much as I can. That’s it, nothing left to do but relax between now and the 19th and give it everything on the day.


Boston 2010 Race Plan

April 5, 2010

I’ve finally decided. I’m going to race conservatively at Boston this year. I’m still trying to PR but not going for an aggressive plan based on my training paces of 6:18 minutes per mile for my marathon goal pace.

My plan for this year is to try and range between 6:20 and 6:25 minutes/mile for the downhill and flat sections. That would put me somewhere between a 2h 48min and 2h 50min marathon.

M A Time M B Time
1 6:25 6:25 1 6:20 6:20
2 6:25 12:50 2 6:20 12:40
E 3 6:25 19:16 E 3 6:20 19:01
4 6:25 25:41 4 6:20 25:21
g 5 6:25 32:06 g 5 6:20 31:41
6 6:25 38:31 6 6:20 38:01
7 6:25 44:56 7 6:20 44:21
8 6:25 51:21 8 6:20 50:41
E g 9 6:25 57:47 E g 9 6:20 57:02
10 6:25 1:04:12 10 6:20 1:03:22
11 6:25 1:10:37 11 6:20 1:09:42
12 6:25 1:17:02 12 6:20 1:16:02
13 6:25 1:23:27 13 6:20 1:22:22
g 14 6:25 1:29:52 g 14 6:20 1:28:42
15 6:25 1:36:18 15 6:20 1:35:03
E 16 6:25 1:42:43 E 16 6:20 1:41:23
17 6:40 1:49:23 17 6:40 1:48:03
g 18 6:50 1:56:13 g 18 6:50 1:54:53
19 6:35 2:02:48 19 6:35 2:01:28
20 6:55 2:09:43 20 6:55 2:08:23
E 21 6:58 2:16:42 E 21 6:58 2:15:22
22 6:20 2:23:02 22 6:20 2:21:42
gE 23 6:20 2:29:22 gE 23 6:20 2:28:02
24 6:20 2:35:42 24 6:20 2:34:22
25 6:25 2:42:07 25 6:20 2:40:42
26 6:25 2:48:32 26 6:20 2:47:02
F 1:17 2:49:49 F 1:16 2:48:18

Trying to run 6:18s the whole way will not get me under 2h and 45 min (would be around 2:47:30) given the tough hills so I think getting the sub 2:50 target off my back at Boston is the right thing for me for now. Did I also mention that work is busier than it has in a long time for me, running can’t be what I stress about … it’s my stress relief so it’s to start settling into this goal and getting ready to race in two weeks.


A compairson of my training leading up to Portland 2009 and Boston 2010

April 3, 2010

During the race in Portland I ended up getting injured so the start of Boston training didn’t quite go that well. I had to take a couple of weeks off and many down weeks. When I did start building my base mileage it took a while and Team Rogue was starting the hill phase or were right around that phase. To keep getting my weekly mileage where it needed to be I kept my long runs at +20 miles. I wanted to see how the weeks leading upto Portland and Boston compare to each other in the terms of mileage and long runs (keep in mind that I’m filling in the next week for Boston 2010 since I haven’t run it yet.

For the 12 weeks leading up to the race (excluding the last week of the race itself):

  • Total Long Run Mileage
    • Portland 2009 – 230
    • Boston 2010 – 260
  • Total Mileage
    • Portland 2009 – 793
    • Boston 2010 – 790

So pretty comparable. For Portland I had 7 long runs over 20 miles and for Boston it’s 9 (mainly so I could get my mileage where it needs to be). Looks like both are pretty comparable in mileage as well as workouts. Let’s see what the race in two weeks holds.


Completed Race Prep #2 for Boston – Kind of Sort of Good

March 7, 2010

Not ideal but in better shape than I was in Portland

Mile 1 Mile 2 Mile 3 Mile 4 Mile 5 Set Total Set Pace
0:06:26 0:06:33 0:06:29 0:06:24 0:06:30 0:32:22 0:06:28
0:06:13 0:06:35 0:06:12 0:06:25 0:06:11 0:31:36 0:06:19
0:06:29 0:06:32 0:06:27 0:06:08 0:06:24 0:32:00 0:06:24
0:06:21 0:06:40 0:06:20 0:06:14 0:06:03 0:31:38 0:06:20

Training in review 6 weeks away from the Boston Marathon

February 27, 2010

This week was another up week, I won’t get to the 75 to 78 miles for the week I was hoping but will be above 70 so I can’t complain too much. I’m pretty satisfied with where my training is this season. The first race prep was doable trying to hold a marathon goal pace (MGP) for a 2:45 marathon. This week we had some faster work, a 5k workout that alternated between 5k pace and half marathon goal pace (5:27 and 6:00 minutes/mile) and I managed that or very close to it. I don’t think I’m in 2:45 marathon shape yet but do feel like I’m fitter than I was for Portland, not bad considering I was hoping to maintain my fitness and not necessarily improve on it this season.

My training has been much more inconsistent this season, missed runs (2 days off on average per week) so lower mileage, less consistent with the gym (work travel), and not mentally geared up, and needing to make work and non-running life a priority. I’ll try to get back running six days a week and be consistent with the gym starting this week leading up to Boston and we’ll see what the race hold and what I set as my target after the second race prep next Sunday.

Overall: Satisfied with my fitness, less so with my ability to stick to training.


The commitment it takes to perform

March 1, 2009

I was at a party yesterday and talking to a runner. Since I’m getting back from an injury my mileage is much lower right now and I’m able to … well actually go out like normal people. With Team Rogue I usually try to get into bed by 10 so I can be up by 4:30 on most weekdays and 5:30 on weekends to get my runs in. I was talking with this other runner and asked him how he’s doing and he said he hasn’t been able to put in the miles or commit what he needs to excel. Training for any marathon takes significant time and it does result in changing daily habits, diet, schedule. Trying to push your body as hard as you can really does take significant commitment, which we all hope will pay off.

All that talk and then the conversation in the car coming home where the phrase “are you running from yourself” came out made me do a little thinking. Here’s a little reflection on what I set out to do this season and a revisit to the question “Why I run versus why I train?“.

The things I’ve tried to do this season include:

  • Eating better and around 2500 to 3000 calories a day. Which means snacking at work all day long and having a drawer full of food.
  • Strength training at the gym so my body is more capable of handling the increased mileage (from 60 to 80 per week) and faster paces.
  • Regularly stretching, using Trigger Point daily and getting regular massages to keep the body loose
  • Trying to peak at 90 miles per week and keeping my average weekly mileage around 80.
  • Dropping my training paces.

Everybody focuses on something or another each season. The above 3 are the things I was trying to differently and have had varying success. Here are the grades I’d give myself today:

  • Eating Better A-
    Ask anybody at work, I either have an apple, pair, oreo’s, animal crackers, fig bars or yogurt with me pretty much all day. The “minus” is for the quality of what I’ve been eating.
  • Strength Training C+
    I’m doing much better than any other training season but haven’t been regular about it, I got complacent and with 90 miles a week it became difficult to have the time to make it to the gym all the time. I did manage to see Mark at South Congress Athletic Club and have a program but still need to follow through with twice a week visits to the gym to perform the exercises.
  • Stretching etc A-
    I’ve been very about using Trigger Point but realized recently that I needed to work more than the calf and lower leg area that I’ve been focusing on. My quads and hamstrings have tightened and this has restricted my stride in some cases and been a factor in some injuries. Minor adjustment needed now.
  • Increasing mileage and pace B
    This one is a tough grade. I looked at my log for CIM and noticed that I got up-to 70 miles over a pretty long period since I wasn’t really running before May. After I peaked I suffered an injury and then my mileage was in the 55 to 60 range till CIM. After CIM I took a week off and then my weekly mileage went something like this: 22, 58, 70, 70, 82, 90, 50 … injury. I look at all of this with two perspective. The first is what the hell was I thinking, I pretty much ran more than I ever have and really just built up too fast. I was also running a lot faster on my runs, in the 7:20 minutes/mile range on easy runs and getting in the 6 minute/mile range on some parts of it. So doing all of this in one go, faster, farther, longer wasn’t a good idea and my body just wasn’t ready for it. But the reason I’m giving myself a B and not a D is that this really has to be the first time I’ve thrown caution to the wind which is something I’ve been working on with training so I’m glad I’ve done that, adjusting down will be much easier!

Looking at the time that remains for Boston training I plan to bring my mileage goals down a little. If I can manage 70 to 75 starting a week from now I will be very happy. I also think I’m going to adjust my paces from the 2:50 marathon target to a 2:53 to try and break 2:55 at Boston. I feel like my lungs and aerobic capacity is ahead of my body’s physical ability to handle the increased load. So it’s a little lower on the mileage and a tad slower on the paces and a renewed focus on strength training at the gym and some cross training. Next season I’ll try and increase my total load/effort a little more gradually to try and avoid injury.

Now of course comes the million dollar question of why put myself through all of this. I wrote an answer to “Why I run versus why I train?” last year as did many others on the team. It really does come to seeing what I can push my body to do and also the sense of internal accomplishment in achieving some goal.

As I think about it those are pretty superficial statements.  Why do I want to see how far I can push my body and what I can accomplish? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know, that’s just how I’m wired. So for now as long as I get satisfaction out of it I’m not going to worry about the deeper reason and physco mumbo jumbo reasoning behind it. What I know is I look forward to waking up, putting shoes on, meeting up with the crew and running easy, hard, or insanely hard and getting side stitches from laughing along the way.


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