Keep Moving Forward: A Training Log (Comments Welcome)

lhermiston

Beer-powered running machine
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Run CRANDIC 2019: A Day Zero F*cks Were Given

So, I've posted the outcome of my Sunday marathon already, but if you want to see how the sausage was made, feel free to read on...

I set my alarm for 5:15 Sunday morning, but woke up once around 3, again around 4 and for good around 5:05. I got up, used the restroom and got dressed. Since the starting temperature was only supposed to be 29, I initially opted for my cold weather running tights and base top, plus my running hoodie. I had originally planned to run in my Captain America compression shirt, but I thought it was going to be too cold for that.

Well, I got downstairs and put on my hoodie while packing up my gear and discovered the zipper on my hoodie was broken. So, I went back upstairs, found my Captain America compression shirt and threw it on over my base layer, hoping that would be warm enough for the race, along with my hat and gloves.

I left the house around 5:40 and parked near Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus a little before 6. The race didn't start until 6:30 and it was pretty brisk, so I didn't leave my car until around 6:10. I dropped my bag off at gear check and did some halfhearted stretches to stay warm. Although cold, it was a beautiful morning, with some really cool fog coming off the Iowa River. The race began on a bridge over the river.

As I indicated in the title, I had no plans, no concerns, no approach, no nothing toward this race. I figured I'd just settle into a pace and run that for as long as I could, figuring my wheels would come off at some point thanks to my somewhat lackadaisical approach to training for the last month. This would be my most chill marathon ever, reflecting my most chill training ever.

So, we started a little after 6:30, I turned on Strava and shut off my screen. I'd still get audio updates every hour and adjust as needed as I went. Again, no plan.

This was a *very* hilly course and started with a slow, mile long climb up to the interstate overpass. From there, we ran down into the river valley. It was super, super foggy - even foggier than the morning of the Disney half marathon for those of you who ran that. People 100 feet in front of me were disappearing into fog, even with the morning sun shining fairly brightly. It made for some great aesthetics.

The rolling hills continued for a few more miles, then we flattened out a bit as we headed into North Liberty, one of the several towns we ran through. I got some compliments on my Captain America shirt, which was cool. But there were very few spectators. Plus, no music or any kind of on course entertainment. It was easily the quietest marathon I've ever run. Plus, I think there were less than 300 marathon runners.

Anyway, we continued into North Liberty where there was a big party of spectators last year when this race was in it's first year. The problem was, the course was reversed last year, so we were hitting NL later in the morning. Plus, the half marathon started in NL last year, but didn't this year. End result: very few people spectating. But, I saw my friend Emily along the way, so it was fine.

Looking at my pace on Strava now for the first time, I was largely in the 8:40s-8:50s for splits for those first nine or so miles. Considering my last long run was three weeks earlier and at a pace of roughly 9:15-9:30, I figured I'd be in trouble sooner rather than later, maybe as soon as the half marathon point. I was popping energy chews with caffeine every couple of miles and grabbing water at each water stop, though, and everything was feeling pretty good.

At this point, a majority of the spectators had been the same sets of parents or wife/children combos cheering on the same runners every few miles (since we were running on a highway, it was easy to see a runner, drive ahead a mile, see them again, drive ahead, etc. etc.). So, as we were leaving North Liberty, some guy saw his wife and kids for the billionth time. She told him she loved him and I said, to no one in particular, "Aww, that's f*cking precious." Well, the dude next to me also had his wife and kids cheering him on along the course and jokingly asked me to not make fun of him when they showed up again. I told him no promises, but ended up running with him for the next 4-5 miles.

This guy (whose name I never got) was great company. He was a teacher from Dubuque and this was his 10th marathon. He helped me maintain my pace and we made small talk for several miles. It made the time and distance go by really fast. Eventually, he peeled off to get some supplies from his wife and kids and I was on my own again. But, I wasn't totally on my own. Over the next several miles I saw my friend Emily again, my friend Josh (one of the race organizers) several more times and a few other people I knew. Plus, the few spectators that were out were digging the Captain America shirt.

Sometime around mile 15 or 16, I figured the wall was coming at any time, plus I just kind of kept going, passed some people and managed to maintain my pace or even set some paces down in the 8:30s. Surprisingly, the miles just seemed to breeze by, too. I wasn't working very hard (or it didn't feel like it), but I was in a good zone mentally and physically.

I kept chugging past mile 16, 17, 18 ... I hit the wall hard at 18 down at Disney and anticipated the same this time, but dang it, but legs just kept going. I'm just barely smart enough to not question a good thing, so I just said, "Hey bud, let's party."

Around mile 19 or 20, I started doing the mental math and thought I might even manage a sub-4, which was not even remotely under consideration going into this race. I spent a mile or so thinking I might even PR before realizing I had the math wrong, but a sub-4 was still in the works.

I kept on keeping on through miles 20-24, passing people, cheering on people I saw walking and enjoying what turned out to be probably the best racing conditions I've ever had (or at least tied for the disney half). Not too warm, sunny, no wind. All bueno.

But finally, at mile 25 I hit the millionth hill on this course and it was a pretty steep one. So, I said to heck with it and walked the hill, which turned out to take longer than I had expected. That mile came in at 10:29. I was able to run downhill from there and keep that up until another hill during mile 26, which was shorter, but I also walked.

At this point, I knew I had my sub-4 since I had a pretty wide margin of error. I ran into another friend about a half mile from the finish line. He had run the half and gave me a high five as I passed. Then, I don't know, I just wanted to walk a second. A woman next to me said pretty quickly that I couldn't walk, so I said fine and ran to the finish. The final 10th of a mile had a ton of spectators, including a woman I used to work with, so that was nice.

I crossed the finish line, got my medal and realized I forgot to turn off Strava. Strava time was 3:54:20. Official time was 3:54:15. So, I missed my previous PR from almost exactly a year earlier by roughly 6 minutes.

So, I don't really know what to make of this race and the outcome, because it's truly unexpected. While I certainly put in some miles, I would not say I trained all that hard, especially in the last month. But, this was easily my most consistent race. It helped that I wasn't injured, the weather was perfect and I didn't have to worry about Disney-related fatigue. But, maybe there's something to just letting go of any goals or any worries and just going for a run.

Now, where does this leave me? Lakefront Marathon is in 5 months. I "set" my personal worse there in 2017 and I want to redeem myself a bit on that course. So, my plan had been to step up my training a bit this summer. BUT...I just had my second best race just chilling out and running for fun. Lots to consider in the next few months. For now, I'm going to take a week or two off and not worry about running.
 
  • run.minnie.miles

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2016
    Just casually running seemed to work pretty well for you! Congrats on another strong marathon finish! Can never go wrong with a Cap shirt... very End Game-weekend worthy!
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    I crossed the finish line, got my medal and realized I forgot to turn off Strava. Strava time was 3:54:20. Official time was 3:54:15. So, I missed my previous PR from almost exactly a year earlier by roughly 6 minutes.

    So, I don't really know what to make of this race and the outcome, because it's truly unexpected. While I certainly put in some miles, I would not say I trained all that hard, especially in the last month. But, this was easily my most consistent race. It helped that I wasn't injured, the weather was perfect and I didn't have to worry about Disney-related fatigue. But, maybe there's something to just letting go of any goals or any worries and just going for a run.

    Now, where does this leave me? Lakefront Marathon is in 5 months. I "set" my personal worse there in 2017 and I want to redeem myself a bit on that course. So, my plan had been to step up my training a bit this summer. BUT...I just had my second best race just chilling out and running for fun. Lots to consider in the next few months. For now, I'm going to take a week or two off and not worry about running.
    Well done! Says to me you've got a pretty good baseline fitness now, and training around that 5-6 hour mark was a good balance for you. And that letting go (whether training or race day) could be a path to a enjoyable race experience.
     
  • lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    Well done! Says to me you've got a pretty good baseline fitness now, and training around that 5-6 hour mark was a good balance for you. And that letting go (whether training or race day) could be a path to a enjoyable race experience.
    It was a good balance. I like turning in those sub-4s, but while still having an enjoyable race/training experience. I'm more about checking off marathons now than any major time goals.

    #goalssssss

    You are a rockstar.
    Takes one to know one.
     
  • lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    Awesome job! I am so impressed with the number of marathons you have done recently. My legs would be toast!
    Thank you! I’m trying to manage burnout and fatigue versus my totally arbitrary goal of completing 10 marathons before I turn 40. I’m 35.5 now and have done 5, so I shouldn’t have to go too crazy after my next one in October.
     

    lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    So...it's been a while.

    Rest assured, I've been running. But, it's been sporadic and without any specific training. Lakefront Marathon is in about 17 weeks (I think) and my training plan is 14 weeks, so I still have a few weeks before dedicated training kicks in. Until then, I'll just kind of keep meandering and running when I can.

    I've been averaging about four runs a week. Persistent rain has made it difficult at times. I am up to 521 miles on the year, which means another 1,000 mile year should be more than obtainable, especially with mileage hopefully picking up next month.

    Speaking of Lakefront ... I'm debating running it with my friend, Emily, who is doing the race for the first time. She is probably a minute or so per mile slower than me, but we're driving up together (with her husband and another one of our friends), hanging out in MKE for a long weekend, etc. and it seems kind of rude to have her run the race on her own. That would probably kill my plans for a course PR, but really who cares? It would also be good training for me with respect to my efforts to enjoy the Disney marathon with others whenever I'm able to run it again.

    That's about all on the running front. Until training kicks in, I don't think I'm going to do any day by day breakdowns of my runs. There's not really that much to say at this point.

    On the life end of things, my twins turned 13 on Monday and Tuesday. I'm a father of teenagers, guys. The teenage angst definitely kicked in a year or more ago, but now it's official. Anyway, they had good birthdays and we ate a couple of good dinners in celebration of both kids. Too much food, not enough running. Definitely need to remedy that.
     

    run.minnie.miles

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2016
    Re: Running with your friend
    Does she want to run together? Is it her 1st marathon? Maybe she doesn't want the pressure of keeping up with you. :)


    On the life end of things, my twins turned 13 on Monday and Tuesday.
    The real reason I'm commenting... Were they born on different days?? That's cool! Happy Birthday to them!
     

    lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    Does she want to run together? Is it her 1st marathon? Maybe she doesn't want the pressure of keeping up with you.
    It’ll be her fourth marathon. We definitely need to chat about a plan.

    The real reason I'm commenting... Were they born on different days?? That's cool! Happy Birthday to them!
    Yup! Around 11:30 pm June 3 and 1 am June 4.
     

    lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    Not only have I sucked at updating this journal, I have intermittently sucked at running.

    For two weeks in a row, I got back into a 5-day-a-week running routine. Nothing structured, but runs ranging from 4-10 miles. The second of those two weeks featured an unintentional five day run streak as the later half in the week featured excellent weather (as far as I can recall).

    This past week, however, was pretty uninspiring. I think I ran twice? I was out of town Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I drove down to St. Louis to catch a Cardinals game, eat a bunch of BBQ and sample a decent number of adult beverages. When I got back on Sunday, I had yard work to catch up on and spent two hours mowing. So, I didn't run, but did get a fair amount of exercise. Then I grilled a big fat dinner and probably undid any of those positive gains. Oh well.

    Today I was back at it. The sun was shining, but about a mile in, the sprinkles started. The sprinkles then turned into a hard rain that lasted for the next 2-2.5 miles. I got soaked, but it wasn't really unpleasant. I like stomping through puddles and the sun came back out for the last bit. So, it was all fine.

    Marathon training begins July 1. I really need to rediscover my groove. I've been running and it's mostly been going fine, but I've been a bit uninspired by it all. Hopefully, that changes soon. Also, I need new shoes. My current ones are worn TF out.

    Finally, because I'm a sucker or noncommittal or just have an unhealthy relationship with runDisney, I'm contemplating Marathon Weekend. Again. Yes, for like the third time. I previously bowed out because I didn't think my fun budget would allow for St. Louis, Milwaukee (for Lakefront Marathon in October) and some general tomfoolery this summer, but, on Thursday my travel agent sent me a quote for the dates in January 2020 we had talked about earlier this year and it wasn't too bad. Then I checked flights and they weren't too bad. Then I crunched my own numbers. It would be TIGHT for the rest of the year, but I could make it if I pick up a few more mowing gigs (which I'm currently working on).

    So, I'm looking at Jan. 9-14. I'd like to do the Goofy Challenge, but I could save almost $200 by doing the marathon instead. I would definitely run the marathon with people (if they'd have me) this time, but one of my slight concerns is being on my own the entire trip outside of DATW. My wife has made it clear that if nursing school continues to work out, she's going to be unavailable. I'm also going to be on a shoestring budget and wouldn't likely participate in any extravagant outings over Marathon Weekend, so I know I'd be spending much of the weekend alone. And ugh, this is my fun budget for the next 10 months...

    On the other hand, I love marathon weekend so dang much. The marathon course is so much fun (even with WWoS) and there's a real appeal in trying to run four marathons over 12 months. By going solo, I'd be able to commit fully to DATW, too, which would be fun. And who knows? Maybe I'd try to venture over to Galaxy's Edge.

    It's a big choice and I'd really like to make up my mind by the end of the week...
     


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