San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon Race and CIM Final Race Prep Report

November 15, 2010

Yesterday a decent number of Team Rogue members ran the San Antonio Rock n Roll half marathon. This is 3 weeks out from our race, CIM on December 6th. A 1/2 marathon three weeks out seems like a great addition to the training approach for the team, nice way to test the legs out and gauge where our fitness lies. Overall I’m pleased with the run yesterday, a 2:45 marathon at CIM seems achievable … not a for sure thing by any means but something between 2:45 and 2:48 seems like something I could manage given things go well.

Yesterday was a 1/2 marathon PR for me with a time of 1:19:19 (6:03 minutes/mile pace). The plan for the race was to go out at 6:05 for the first 6 miles, then down to 6:00 minute pace for the next 4 miles and then hold on for dear life. My overall time was 13 seconds off the “plan” so not too bad on the day.

6:02, 5:56, 5:59, 6:08, 6:08, 6:11, 6:00, 5:59, 6:02, 6:09, 6:03, 5:59, 5:58, 42

The first five miles were according to plan, after we reached the highest point on the course and were on a nice downhill for some reason I eased off too much and hit a 6:11 mile when it should have been faster. I just didn’t mentally gauge my effort well, something to keep in mind on the downhill’s at CIM. After that it was pretty smooth sailing until mile 10 which was a gradual uphill for most of the mile so the 6:09 mile. Then it was just getting into a rhythm and getting to the finish. I’m happy with where my fitness is, but not sure about breaking 2:45. The final race plan will likely come into place the week of the marathon given all the life things (getting married this weekend) that have to happen before that 🙂

As for the race, the support for Rogue’s was amazing. The number of people screaming “Go Team Rogue”, or “Go Kamran and Asia” was great, it seemed to also come just at the right time. Having Steve there right after mile 12 was nice, he gave me the kick in the ass I needed so I didn’t just get comfortable and take it easy at the finish. Seeing Ruth and John twice was nice, I’ve only been a spectator for this race in the past so appreciate them being out there to support all of us.

It was also great to finish and see Team Rogue Elite, Joe shared the good news about the 1-2-3 finish for the men, 2-3 finish for the women, and a men’s Olympic marathon trials qualifier to boot.  Not too shabby for a days running!

3 weeks till CIM for the Team. Time to sharpen the body and mind.



October 31, 2010

Dull is not equal to sharp and describes my mental state as far as racing a marathon. We had our 3rd race prep today, similar to the one we do every season. The closest one based on my fitness was the one for Boston this year. In the end, today I just mentally folded on the last part of the workout, no physical reason to do it but just not mentally sharp. 5 weeks to put up or shut up. On the flip side it was an inspiring workout to see with the rest of the team slogging and nailing the workout today, especially the first timers for this workout in our little crew on the team: Brent, Asia, Paul and Chris.

Today’s workout involved a 4 mile warm-up, 2 sets of 5 miles at MGP with a half mile easy between the sets, then 5.5 miles that include some hills (Red bud and Stratford) followed by 6 miles on the track with a cut down (2 at MGP, 2 at 1/2 MGP, 2 at 10k). I did all of it close to plan but folded on the track. After running 4 miles, just decided I was done.

Goal Paces
MGP – 6:18
1/2MGP – 6:00
10k – 5:40

5 Mile MGP Sets
Set 1: 31:25 – 6:17 pace
Set 2: 31:50 – 6:22 pace

Mile 1: 6:16
Mile 2: 6:17
Mile 3: 6:00
Mile 4: 6:00
Mile 5: DNS!
Mile 6: DNS!

No excuses, didn’t deliver. As Steve said today, I just have to get what’s between my ears figured out. 5 weeks till race day and all on me to decide what I want to get out of this season.

Another day, another race prep, another 20+ mile run

October 9, 2010

Today was another key milestone for Team Rogue training for CIM, our second race prep. This was a step up in intensity from our first race prep in September and involved 2 sets of 10 miles at marathon goal pace (MGP). I really don’t know what I was thinking or feeling going into this race prep. I’ve been concentrating on everything except for running lately (work, new business idea, getting engaged 🙂 Coming into the race prep I have to admit I wasn’t mentally engaged, really haven’t been for a while this season. At the start of the race prep I was talking to Steve and we were joking about the busyness of our lives and he just said to run the first set and see what happens. This season has been pretty different for me training wise. I’ve probably run more miles than ever but have been mentally the most disconnected from my training. I decided early on this season that with everything else going on in life running is the one thing that can’t be a source of stress, it’s my “relaxation” … yes running 70 to 80 miles a week is my relaxation.

Guess I should get back to the point of this post which is the race prep. We had a good sized group again and there were 8 or so of us in the 2:45 to 2:50 goal range. A 2:45 marathon is a 6:18 minutes/mile pace so that was the target today. Given the challenging first 5 miles of the course it was no surprise that the first half was off pace, and the second downhill part under pace. Steve put cones out every 2 miles, a 6:20 min/mile pace for 2 miles works out to 12:40 min.

Miles       1,2         3,4        5,6        7,8       9,10       Total     Pace
Set 1      12:47    12:46    12:45    12:31    12:26    1:03:17  6:20
Set 2      12:41    12:58    12:36    12:29    12:15    1:03:00  6:18

From a time based result standpoint the race prep went well. During the first set after we crossed Lamar near Justin and headed down Guadalupe there were many moments when I felt I could pick up the pace but knew there was another set to go and picking up the pace could be risky. The second set started off fine, actually a little faster for miles 1 and 2 than the first set but something blew up on miles 3 and 4 for the second set (running 12 seconds slower for those two miles compared to the first set). That of course results in the “freak out” where I tried to pick it up a little too much, which resulted in miles 5 and 6 for the second set being 11 seconds faster than the first sets. Then it was back in the groove for miles 7 and 8 for the second set. If I kept that effort going I would have come in at 1:03:11, right at the same time as the first set. Brent caught up to me towards the end of the second set and I had plenty of gas left so I figured I might as well push a little bit so that brought me in right at 1:03:00 for an overall 10 miles at a 6:18 pace 🙂

What does this mean for me at CIM? Racing a marathon is so much more than the physical ability to run at a pace. The mental aspect of running a marathon is a critical element. Your mind is what keeps you going when you’re down, when some freak clips your heels, when you drop your GU … you name it, the marathon will mess with your mind every chance it gets. I’m not mentally sharp this, and I’m not sure if I can be. It’s kind of a pity because this is undoubtedly the fittest I’ve ever been and may also be the last marathon I put serious training time into for a year or two. I guess the good thing is a sub 2:50 marathon seems pretty reasonable at CIM this year. I doubt I’d be able to keep training if it wasn’t for all the people in Team Rogue so thank you all for keeping me going … special shout out to Damon-later, Chris and Asia.

The Fox Cities Marathon serves as a stepping stone to CIM in December

September 20, 2010

This weekend was a fun trip to Madison and Appleton, WI. Yes a place near Green Bay can be fun. Asia and I made the trip to run the Fox Cities Marathon. The original purpose of the trip was to use the race as a Boston qualifier for Asia. Since Boston filled up last year in late October or early November we wanted to have her qualifier before registration opened. It was going to a long run but as chance would have it the race fell on the same weekend that Steve planned the first race prep for Team Rogue. The race prep and the marathon deserve some assessment. I’m sure Asia’s post will be much more entertaining.

The prescribed race prep was 3 x 5 miles at marathon goal pace (MGP). I ended up running a modified version of the race prep during the marathon, starting pace work at the 5 mile point in the race. My current MGP for CIM is 6:18 minutes per mile, my average pace for the 14 miles at MGP ended up at 6:14, the different sections were:

  • 5 Miles – 6:21, 6:24, 6:19, 6:12, 6:15 (6:18 average)
  • 3 Miles – 6:16, 6:26, 6:20 (6:20 average)
  • 3 Miles – 6:30, 6:08, 6:02 (6:13 average)
  • 3 Miles – 6:06, 6:13, 6:06 (6:08 average)

The Fox Cities Marathon

This race had a great feel to it. The only marathon I’ve run with a small community feel to it. We drove from Madison to Appleton with Asia’s mom and the expo and packet pick-up was at a community college. We could have really just gone in and out in under 10 minutes. The number of people running the marathon and relay must have been 1000 with more doing the half (which started an hour before the marathon). We got to the start and 10 minutes before the gun at 8:00 could have lined up in the second or third row without any problem. Really pretty cool to not have the craziness of larger marathons. The only downside to the smaller race is if you’re running faster times (3:10 or faster) you may not have a lot of company to run with which can mess with your mind. Of course seeing people break down and walk from mile 20 to 26 can mess with your mind too so maybe fewer people isn’t a bad thing after all.

The goodie bag was a mixed bag. The great things were a GU and stainless steel bottle. The, well not so great was a set of tampons and depends for women.  One of the sponsors of the race was Kimberly Clark so that explains the Kotex and Depends. On the plus side it did mean the toilet paper was Scott brand and other nice soft stuff.

The Good Part of the Goodie Bag

Could Have Left This Out

The race started exactly on time, very cool. Not sure when that has happen in Austin lately. The course was reasonably flat, some rollers etc but an honest course. There were a few turns that were confusing, a quick right where if you weren’t paying attention to the arrows on the ground you’d miss the tunnel that goes under the highway and then one section where you just ran into a park; in general a good course. The weather was great, 50 degrees at the start and 55 at the finish. Oh, and the area was very reasonable to stay in, not crazy expensive like Boston or other big city races. I would gladly recommend this race to people.

The Race Prep

The fastest pace group was for a 3:15 marathon at the race and that’s a 7:25 minute/mile pace so Asia and I decided to start with them. The cooler weather made it difficult to hold back but the pace group was a good check on us. At mile 2 I looked down at the watch and thought, I bet the pace group leader freaks out and tries to make up time … he did, very predictable and ran the group into the ground with a 7:08. It was just funny seeing him react to a mile that was off just a little and over correcting. It’s much easier to observe others doing that then being aware of yourself in a race, as I showed during the race prep.

Going into the race we decided on running our first set of 5 at 5 miles, the second set at 11 and the third at 17. As we started the first set I was very aware that my legs just aren’t used to the faster paces yet. It seemed very forced to move my legs faster. It wasn’t a natural or even motion. I kept felling like the effort was too hard for MGP but as we clicked off the first mile at MGP it was 6:21, my mind was a little taken back. This is only two weeks after the end of our base phase so it’s expected. I don’t think I would have kept the effort going if Asia wasn’t ahead of me and keeping me honest. Our overall pace for this 5 mile set was 6:18 so right on target.

We started the second set well at 6:16 and then during the second mile the race prep went a little off plan. There are so many things I do during a run or race that just happen. Simple things like how to drink water while running at MGP. Well, Asia has been running track or cross-country till now. She’s never had to take water this way before. Well she took some Gatorade and … down the wrong pipe it went and she was choking on it.  Somehow she managed to keep going but the gasping and restricted breathing had an impact. We finished the third mile of the set and she had a cramp she just couldn’t get rid of. I was impressed that she kept going after the choking. We both started walking to make sure she was ok and we decided to make an audible on the race prep and try for another 2 sets of 3 miles to make it 14 for the day and hope the cramp would subside. We’d talked about what to do if one person wasn’t having a good day and the other a bad one before the.

Then the next two sets of 3 miles. Asia upped her effort but getting under 6:20 was just too painful so she did what she could. I’m just really impressed. I know if that was me I would be walking or just doing a death march to the finish, not trying to push as hard as I could. That mental part of the race prep is something that I give a lot of credit to Steve for working into Team Rogue. During race preps he’s teaching us to reach the edge but not cross over it, and if we do to back off and try again. Nothing prepares your for the crappiness your mind inflicts on you during a race except for a race, the race prep is the next best thing.

My legs started to really loosen up and I was feeling a little guilty at not running 3 x 5 miles at MGP and the audible so decided I’d try and run somewhat under 6:18. That ended up being 6:13 and 6:08 for the next two sets of 3 miles. They weren’t forced, just hard effort.

Asia and I ran the rest of the marathon and crossed the finish line together, in a time of 3:02:44 This was her first marathon and first race prep (for her own race) and I think an invaluable experience. It’s a little crazy to think she just ran her first marathon in 3:02 as a workout, at a sub 7 minute per mile pace, qualified for Boston ,and by the way, finished 4th overall female.

Final race prep for Boston Marathon 2010 is done

March 27, 2010

Today was a 27ish mile training run that includes two sets of 4 miles at marathon goal pace (MGP), and miles 20 to 26 were a cut down on the track. 2 miles at MGP, 2 at half marathon pace (HGP) and 2 at 10k pace. We’ll that’s the theory of the workout. I’ve never manged to hit all those paces in the 3 times I’ve attempted the workout, but just getting through it is somewhat a success.

Today’s workout was somewhat similar to what we did in preparation for the Portland Marathon in 2009. The major differences being the hard mile on the track wasn’t there, instead of 2×5 miles at MGP today was 2×4 miles at MGP. Today’s workout went very similar to what I ran in the same race prep for Portland, not pace wise but overall results. I ran everything 10 seconds or faster today than August of 2009 leading to Portland.

Goal paces for a 2:45 marathon are as follows:

  • MGP 6:18
  • HGP 6:00
  • 10k 5:40

The outcome of today’s workout:

2×4 miles at MGP
Set 1 – 6:12 pace
Set 2 – 6:14 pace

Track MGP 1 – 6:13
Track MGP 2 – 6:15
Track HGP 1 – 5:58
Track HGP 2 – 6:13
Track 10k 1 – 6:25
Track 10k 2 – 6:40

The 8 miles at MGP were a little too fast as were my first two miles on the track. I felt fine until the 10k portion when it was just brutal. When I did this workout for Portland my 5th mile on the track was 15 seconds slower than MGP so I’m much happier with today’s results. During the last mile Steve made me back off on the first lap, I ran close to 8 minute pace, and then I managed to get back into MGP easily. The entire track session was a 6:17 pace so not too shabby.

Now to plan for what I’ll run at Boston. I think if I run conservatively I’ll go out at 6:25’s through the first 16 miles, then see what the hills bring and try and get back on pace to finish under 2:50. If I decide to let loose then the first 16 will be closer to 6:20 … I’m not sure what price I’ll pay later on for it though. I’ll post my race plan next weekend for anybody that’s curious, my goal for Boston will likely be somewhere between 2:47 and 2:50.

Recovery after the race prep

March 9, 2010

This Sunday was another Race Prep leading to Boston. The race pre consisted of 4 sets of 5 miles at Marathon Goal Pace with decent hills. We started at Bouldin and Barton Springs and South (up-hill for the most part) for 5 miles, then back down for 5, up for another 5 and back for a total of 20 miles. A 2:45 marathon would be a 6:18 pace which I’m not really capable of right now, and it was obvious that running uphill is a bit of a struggle. Overall I did manage a 6:23 pace for the 20 miles. I wasn’t sure how the recovery would go but I’ve been pleased. I only ran 2 miles on Monday, mainly because of time and this morning ran 8 miles with Chris and Asia. It went well, a little soreness in the upper quads but that went away as I loosened up. I’m not completely recovered but the tightness and soreness isn’t too bad and is expected given the hard effort on Sunday. It’s a good thing I have a massage scheduled for Thursday.  The body and mind just need to hold up through April for the race.

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

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