Monday, December 22, 2008

Hawaii Here I come

After having a great week of training I had to get this week started on a positive note. The plan called for a recovery run of 6 miles. For me to absorb the training from last week and get my run in today I had to take it real slow. I also decided to do the run on my treadmill. I figured it would be the last time on the mille for awhile since I leave for Hawaii this afternoon. The run went well as I started at 7:30pace and never went much faster. But once I warmed up a little I felt great.

I'm going to do my best to keep the blog rolling when I'm in Hawaii. I'm bringing my laptop, but it all depends on my internet service at our hotel. I don't want to pay a bunch of money to hook it up. I gotta go and get to the airport now. Hawaii, Here I come!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Long Run

Today was the first Long Run of my Road to Boston 2009 Training program. It was a perfect winter run in Anchorage. The temperature was only 5 degrees above at the start, but it you wear the right kind of gear it is really no big deal. We took off from Skinny Raven around 10 am just when it turns light in Anchorage (today is the shortest day of the year) and it was pretty cool to run in all the low laying fog. The running conditions were great. We did the twilight 12K loop up by Government Hill and then did the rest of the workout on the Chester Creek trails which were nice and hard snowpack. I ran with Jerry Ross and John Clark and we were cruising pretty good around 7 min. pace for the run.

The Long run is a very important ingredient for the Marathon. A long run is any run 17 miles or longer. The intention of long runs is (obviously) to improve your endurance in preparation for the marathon. They should be run 10 to 20 percent slower than your goal marathon pace. If you do long runs slower than this you risk being unprepared for the marathon. If you do long runs to fast you risk being too tired for other key workouts during the week. I have learned from runners here in anchorage and through books/magazines that it is good to start off slow in your long runs but by mile 5 you should at least be within 20 percent of your marathon pace. Gradually pick up the pace so at the end of the run you are around 10 percent or faster of marathon pace.

These long runs do take a toll on the body, so its a good idea to take a recovery day the following day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In the zone!

Have you ever been on a run and it felt effortlessly? That is exactly how I felt today. I did an easy easy 6 mile recovery run today and it was suppose to be real easy. I brought my watch, but I didn't pay close attention to it. Sometimes I can get so caught up trying to hit a decent mile split that I work to hard on the easy days. I just read a good article in the new JanuaryFebruary 2009 Running Times magazine. The article was called "Running on the Shoulders of Giants". It discussed how some of Kenya's great runners take it real easy on their easy runs. Some runs were 2-3 minutes slower than their tempo pace. The main concept I learned from the article is that you should go easy on the easy days, so you can go hard on the hard days. Since I'll be increasing my mileage to 80-90 miles a week in this training session, I'll definetly need to take these easy days real easy.

Today's run also gave me a big appreciation for being fit. I was running around 7:00- 7:15 pace and trying to run slower. I felt real aware of my body and I was in a pleasent zone. Maybe it was the endorphins kicking in. I definetly had a runners buzz going on. I felt like taking off and droping the pace down too sub 6 pace, but I was smart and kept it easy. It felt so good that I wanted to keep running for a couple hours, but I forced myself to stop after 6 miles.

Day's like today make me glad that I'm a runner.

I didn't have time to blog yesterday, but I did get my 10 mile run in outside. Pretty good effort.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Recovery Runs

Today was the last day of school for students before they go on christmas break. It will be a much needed break for students and myself. It'll be nice to be able to train and not have to worry work for a couple weeks. Plus, I'll be going to Hawaii for 10 days. Running outside in shorts will be nice.

Today's workout was an easy 6 mile recovery run. I ran it outside from my house to Huffman and back. To do a recovery run correctly you gotta make sure you take it somewhat easy. A lot of time you can get caught up in running fast because you feel good, but you really aren't giving your body the rest it may need. I usually have to remind myself a couple times during the run to take it easy and slow down. I really like my recovery days. I still get a run in, but it's at an easy pace.

I bought a recovery drink for the first time in my life from the Power Bar Company. I've seen my friend Jerry Ross drink it after a long run. I'm going to give it a try during this training session for boston. With my mileage going up I will try to do everything I can to make sure I'm recoverd for the next workout.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Medium Long Runs

The 18 week marathon plan that I'm following has several types of runs but follows somewhat the same plan every week.

Monday- recovery runs
Tuesday- General Aerobic
Wednesday- Medium Long run
Thursday- Recovery run
Friday- Medium Long run
Saturday- recovery run
Sunday- LongRun

I followed this plan last year and I really liked it. The recovery runs gave me a chance to really absorb the training (as long as I took them real slow). I usually only wear my heart rate monitor on the recovery runs to make sure I'm doing them real easy. I try not to let my heart rate get past 140 bpm.

Today I did a 12 mile medium long run. Medium long runs are usually from 11-16 miles long. 17+ is considered a long run. The temperature today was 9 above. I did the first 8 miles outside and the last 4 on the treadmill. When it's cold out I like to split the medium-long and long runs up and do some outside and the remaining miles on the treadmill. For one, it gets me out of the cold. It also gives me something to look forward too. Plus, I really like it. I change my clothes and get on some shorts (I try to change in less than 3 min.) Running on the treadmill gives me an idea of what my pace is at and plus I have my water right their too. I felt pretty good today. My legs felt a little tired. I think it was from the striders yesterday. Overall another quality workout.

I did some Christmas shopping tonight and bought my son an ipod touch. They are sweet. I think I may buy one myself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can I please just get my run done today?

Today was Day #2 on my way to Boston. The plan was to do a General Aerobic 8 mile run with 10X100 strides. I was excited because the sun was out today (even though it was only 12 above). I really wanted to do this run outside because I feel it is important to get just as many days outside as inside in the winter. But, life got in the way. Our furnace stopped working last night and our house was freezing. So, after I picked the kids up after school I had to wait for the heating company to come over and fix the furnace. He didn't get here until 4:15 and it was 5pm and dark by the time he left. I was hungry and in a bad mood having to postpone my workout. Plus, I didn't feel like running in the dark. I ended up just jumping on the treadmill and did the workout. I had a good run but could tell I was a little tired and not in the groove. I did the striders on the treadmill too, which I find kind of difficult because of having to push the buttons to speed up and slow back down.
I had every reason to just take a day off, but I'm in Boston training mode.
When I set my mind to stick to a plan I am pretty good at following through with it. There are no excuses for not getting it done.

One of my favoriet bands is Coldplay. I'm going to leave you with a live version of Lost.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Road to Boston 2009 Begins today!

Well, here i go. I'm officially training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. I'm going to follow the same 18 week program as I did last year, but up the mileage just a little bit. I am really excited to begin. Wrestling finished this weekend and my team had a very successful season. It's always nice to put in a lot of hard work and finish the season on a positive note. We had another individual state champion in Luke Shelley.
It was the 5th individual state championship for South. We also had seven kids place in the top six in state. I am really excited for the potential our team has in years to come.

Now that the season is over I transform myself from being a coach to an athlete myself. It may sound selfish, but if I going to continue to coach wrestling I need this off-season time to focus on myself as an athlete and to focus on my personal health.

So, my first workout of the Road to Boston 2009 was an easy 5 miler on the treadmill. It wasn't that cold outside and I really wanted to do this workout outside, but I was running out of time and it was just easier to jump on the treadmill. I kept the run real easy, but I was very excited at the same time. I was constantly visualizing myself running the Boston Marathon. My goal this year is to run a sub 2:40:00 marathon and to not falter from my training program. If I do this I should stay injury free and get in the best cardiovascular shape of my life. I'm Ready!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon

Since I was pumped about my success at the Mayors Marathon, I was ready to tackle another marathon soon. What better than the grand daddy of them all? BOSTON. I signed up for the Boston Marathon and bought my plane ticket that October. A good six months before the race. I was going to put more effort into this marathon than I have for any race in my life. I have had a good year of running up to this point. I got a PR for the 5K (16:48), Marathon (2:53:16), and 10K (34:49). I was pretty comfortable running 40-50 miles a week, but I knew I could step it up and do some higher mileage. I also made a huge investment that fall. I bought a precor treadmill (best purchase of my life). I knew if I wanted to get serious about training I would need a treadmill. Especially in Alaska where the elements can be too much outside. Or you just need a break and want to run with shorts and a t-shirt on. It was a higher end treadmill. I bought it on sale for $3,500.
Some people said I was crazy. I could've bought a nice snowmachine, etc... I just knew I would come out of the winter fit, which is better than sitting on a machine riding around the snow anyways. I also didn't want to have to go to the athletic club to use one. Most clubs only let you go for 30-60 minutes at a time plus I didn't want my sweat flying all over the people next to me. I put my treadmill upstairs next to the window. I have music set up and I can stare out my window to keep me busy. I would like to eventually get a tv set up in their to watch sporting events or movies to pass the time on an easy run.

I had a lot of help for this marathon. The people who helped me the most were Jerry Ross, John Clark, Monica Tibbetts, and Kris & Kristi Waythomas. I went into Skinnyraven one day to ask Jerry and JC to set me up a plan to get ready for Boston. Jerry pointed me to a book called "Advanced Marathoning" by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas.
In this book I found and 18 week-more than 70 miles a week plan. Jerry used this book a lot when he was preparing for Boston the year before. So, I trusted him and bought it. I followed the 18 week plan perfectly. I didn't miss one workout and I completed every single workout too. I guess you can say that I got lucky. I didn't get injured. I did get sick a couple times, but I just lowered the intensity a little but still did the workout. I have always been pretty good to follow plans I have set out for me. At least in my athletic life. Having followed this plan to the T, I had a lot of confidence going into Boston.
I had some family running Boston as well. My cousin Michelle from Kansas City Missouri, my uncle jim and aunt Lamae Ritchie from Bemidji, and my dad also came from Fairbanks for support. It was sure nice having everyone their. I also met a new friend named Kurt Fiene who is a visually impaired runner. He is legally blind and still gets after it. He is quite good too. He ran right around 2:52 I believe at this years Boston. I got to know him through my cousin Michelle. They met when she still lived in Omaha, Nebraska. Since my relatives knew Kurt and were on the "Team with a Vision" we all got a rock star start. I didn't have to take a bus to Hopinkton and wait 4 hrs. until the race started. We hoped in a van around 8:30 that drove us right to the start basically. I changed my shoes, went to the bathroom, and slow jogged to the starting line and only had to wait 15-20 min. before the start.
The conditions for the race were awesome. The temp at the start was in the mid 50's and may have gotten into the low 60's during the race. Their was also a very small cool breeze which helped. Their wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was out. I actually got a sun burn on the right side of my face and body during the race. The race starts with a downhill the first few miles and if I didn't watch it I could've started out way too fast. I purposely ran slow the first 5K. It ended up being the slowest 5K of the entire race. I ran it in 20min. flat. I knew I was a little behind my sub 2:45 goal, but I didn't panic. I was able to pass Lance Armstrong around the 3 mile mark.
It was pretty cool to see him. Shorter than I would've of thought. I was feeling great just about the entire race. Going past Wellesley college was awesome. You could actually hear them about 1/2 mile away. I couldn't believe how loud the screaming and cheering was.
I felt like kicking it down to sub 6min. pace but I knew better. I was just feeling good. I checked my splits every mile and I was getting a little faster than my goal time. I took a gu every 5 miles and drank gatorade and water at every water stop. I still remember pushing it pretty hard up Heartbreak Hill while people were dying and feeling great. Once you get to the top its pretty much downhill into boston. I stayed on pace even though the last 2-3 miles were pretty tough mentally. My last mile split was 6:08 and I finished with a time of 2:44:01 good for 252nd place overall. It was another great feeling that's hard to explain. I had finished the race and was greatful it was over. I started to reflect on all the hours I put into this race. To make a plan and stick with it. Then to actually achieve your goal that I set forth. It was quite overwhelming. It is a great feeling. It also left me with a taste to run even more. I knew I would be back for another Boston soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mayors Midnight Sun Marathon

My second marathon was a much bigger success for me. In the beginning I was going to run the Grandmas Marathon again, but I decided to teach summer school which kept me in town. The Mayors Midnight Sun Marathon was perfect because it fell on the same weekend anyways. I basically kept the same Dick Beardsley Marathon training program, but did a much better job following it and getting my long runs in. I was feeling pretty good, but still didn't know what to expect as far as time. My goal was to run a sub 3 hr. marathon. I ran the Curtis Menard 5K four weeks before Mayors in a PR of 16:48 almost a minute faster than my previous record. Plus, I did that with strictly marathon training and no taper. The next day I ran with Jerry Ross, Casey Miller, John Clark, and Jens Beck. All four of these guys were top runners in Anchorage and I wanted to gain some knowledge from them. They took me on the mayors marathon course up to mile 16 and gave me some pointers. The run felt really easy for me and I finished the run having run 22 miles. If I would've just finished the marathon course that day I would have been right around 3 hrs. So, this gave me some huge confidence that I was ready.

I had a plan on race day to go out conservative and if I felt good to pick it up. I really wanted to break 3 hrs. so I also printed out a pace band for 3 hrs. to follow if I needed. I also found Esther Jurasek who is a great female marathoner in Anchorage who always runs around 3 hrs. and I knew that her goal was to break it too. She had no idea who I was, but I followed her for the first 9 miles. We were just under 3 hr. pace. I was feeling really good so I decided to leave my comfort zone and pick it up a little. I took a Gu every 5 miles and a couple times I took a defizzed Coke.

The extra caffiene really did give me a quick perk when I was feeling tired. My good friend Kristi Waythomas was the one who taught me that trick and she was on the course handing them to me a certain spots as well. I was definetly flying pretty good the 2nd half, but was getting tired. I finished in 2hrs. 53min. 16 sec. I was very happy. My first half was in 1hr. 27min. and the second half was 1 hr. 25 min. So I had a negative split. My father and kids were their when I finished and I felt great. Couldn't walk, but felt great!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My First Marathon- Grandmas 2006

What can I say? I guess I can call myself a runner now. I've taken running pretty serious for the last 3 years. I have always ran though. I ran cross country in high school, ran to stay in shape for wrestling in high school and college. I've done plenty of 10K's during college and post college. I've always enjoyed a hard 20-40 min. max run. But what really got me hooked on running was in 2006 when my uncle told me I should sign up for the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota.

I was going to have a few of my cousins, aunts and uncles running in the race too. So, I signed up and did a moderate Dick Beardsley 18 week marathon training program. It was probably closer to 12 weeks since I wasn't very focused the first month and a half. I did some long runs (I did one 20 mile run), but mostly 6-10 mile runs. I really thought I could fake my way through it and run 7:00min. miles and run under 3:03 for my first marathon. Needless to say race day was warm and humid in Minnesota in June and I was on 7:00 min. pace up until mile 9 and by mile 15 I was finished. I wanted to quit and I was walking during every water break and then some. My friend Eric Christenson came to run from mile 20 to the finish and I slowly started to run consistently again. I finished with a time of 3hrs. 26 min. and very humbled by the marathon. My cousin Michelle who I really wanted to beat ran great. She ran around 3hrs. and 14 min. She kicked my butt. Instead of saying I would never run another marathon again, I came away with a lot of respect for the event and wanted to prove to others and mostly myself that I can run a marathon well if I trained correctly.