Monday, April 30, 2007

Big Sur Marathon 2007 3:11:43

-Seeing is believing-

Let that be a lesson to me. Donna Troyna, Grizzled Vet of 22 Big Sur marathons, told me exactly how to race the course. "Go out slow and save it for the Carmel Highlands", she said. Her advice only reiterated the advice in the Monterey Herald. Some lessons have to be learned the hard way and this is one of those lessons.

Big Sur is a hilly course. There is little or no flat terrain in the race. I had read this prior to the start but I didn't internalize it until I was experiencing it.

I went out much too fast. 6:10-6:40 for the first six miles. I somehow developed an inflated view of my fitness in the last month. I didn't understand the correlation between my long tempo & progression runs and marathon race pace. I ran 7:05 pace for 24 miles at Crystal Springs which was very close to a race effort. With hindsight I should have tried to run 7:00-7:05 pace at Big Sur. The effect of added competition on race day is consumed by the difficulty of the course.

By Hurricane point (the highest point of the race) I had stomach cramps and was having difficulty taking food. The gatorade I drank probably contributed to this. I've gotten really bad at drinking from cups. I poured more water over me than in my mouth. I found drinking water helped to alleviate the stomach cramps but when I took another GU I cramped again. This was the same feeling I had years ago in the Boston Marathon when I went out too fast and suffered through cramps and shortness of breath for the second half. I basically struggled to the finish with stomach cramps coming and going.

*Drinking from cups - I need to practice this (how sad is that?) or carry water with me.
*Race strategy - Need to correlate key workouts like 24 mile tempo at Crystal Springs or half marathon race to a negative split marathon strategy. I need to develop the discipline to negative split so that I can finish strong. I can always speed up in the last 10K if I feel I've left too much in reserve.
*Mileage - I averaged less than 50 miles a week from February through April with a max of 90 miles. Need to average 90 miles a week although it will take a long time to build to this level.
*Course Specific knowledge - if I want to run fast on the course I need to run it (at least half).

What's working:
*Orthotics - no problems during the race and only minor blisters under the arch by the finish. This is a huge victory because I've dealt with everything from shin splints to IT band problems during the buildup to Big Sur. I am wearing the orthotics full time now. I made changes to the orthotics, adding EVA slices and duct tape, up until the day before the race and it paid off with a pain free run.
*Yoga/stretching - I was loose and 'even' for the whole race. I didn't have any particular muscle problems.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Text of Ryan Hall's training for London Marathon 2007 pasted below:
By Brom Hoban
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Americans have not had a reputation as great marathoners since the heyday of the 1970s and '80s. Back then, runners like Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar racked up multiple wins at both the Boston and New York Marathons. And let's not forget Frank Shorter or Joan Samuelson, who picked up gold medals in the Olympic marathon.

That was a generation ago.

Ryan Hall, left, ran the fastest time for an American and finished seventh in his first London Marathon in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds.

But now it looks like we are staging something of a comeback.

Deena Kastor, who set an American record last year with her 2:19:36 win at London and won the bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is one of the top female marathoners in the world. Meb Keflezighi earned marathon silver in 2004 — the first American man to medal since Shorter took silver in his second Olympic marathon 30 years earlier.

And on Sunday morning, running in warm conditions at the prestigious London Marathon, Ryan Hall ran the fastest debut marathon ever by an American. His 2:08:24 (seventh place overall) eclipsed the 2:09:41 debut record shared by Salazar and Alan Culpepper.

Kenya's Martin Lel won the race in 2:07:41, while China's Zhou Chunxiu won the women's race in 2:20:37.

Hall, who popped an amazing 59:43 to set an American record at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon in January, trained specifically for the London Marathon after his Houston win, which was also his debut for that distance. And unlike Dathan Ritzenhein, another great up-and-coming young American marathoner, who had a disappointing debut at New York this past fall (2:14:01), Hall got it right the first time.

What's interesting about Hall, a 24-year old Stanford graduate, is that he trains with Kastor out at Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Obviously, they've figured out a successful approach to the 26.2-mile monster that has stymied so many young American hopefuls.

Coached by Terrence Mahon, who also coaches Kastor, Hall set about preparing for London about a month after his impressive run in Houston. Highlights of Hall's 12-week buildup for London included five tempo runs of 12 miles or longer, five runs of two hours and 15 minutes or longer and four marathon simulations running eight to 10 miles at a moderate pace and then putting in eight to 10 miles at marathon pace.

For Hall, a "marathon simulation" run means a 23-mile run as follows: 10 miles at 5:45 pace, 10 miles at marathon effort (4:55 pace) and then a three-mile cooldown. His 15-mile tempo runs were also done at 4:55 pace.

And here's a nice touch. Many marathoners consider 20 miles plenty of distance for their furthest long run, but three weeks before London, Hall ran a full 26 miles at a moderate pace — a practice recommended by Jeff Galloway, who has coached thousands of marathoners.

"It gave me a lot more confidence that miles 20-26 aren't something to be scared of, just respected," Hall wrote on his blog.

But beyond the sheer talent and smart training, maybe it's Hall's positive attitude that serves him best.

A few days before London, he said, "I will step to the line knowing that I have done everything I could do to be ready for this, and then the fun part begins. 26.2 miles testing my body and celebrating all the hard work that has gone into this one moment, and it all happens on two hours one Sunday morning."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Orthotic Saga -Continued

What about the saga of the orthotics? Still working on closing that chapter of my running career. I met with Dr Chuck Starrett again to tune my orthotics and his expertise truly shone. He made all the adjustments necessary and the orthotics went from a nice idea to near perfect.

What did he do? He added cork resin as a foundation around the heel of the right foot as well as EVA support in the midfoot. This makes the orthotic much more stable and really fills up the arch. The left orthotic he rounded to let it move more in the shoe so it wasn't quite so overwhelming. I ran six miles right after my appt with him and felt pretty good. I found that I needed remove the shoe insert so the right orthotic could sit as low as possible in the shoe. It also took a few runs to realize that the shoe insert needed to be cut down so the insert and the orthotic were flush. With some (can you guess?) duct tape I fit the two together and the tempo run today was flawless. My IT band was bothering me before but not after I made that adjustment. The left orthotic is just a little too unstable so I propped it up with a long narrow strip of EVA from another shoe insert and it is working perfectly.

I have run the last ~ 50 miles with these orthotics and the next big test will be the marathon (Big Sur). I haven't felt any more than a slight twinge in my shins since starting with them which is a great sign.

11 Days left to Big Sur Marathon

Almost time to start the taper for Big Sur International Marathon. My training hasn't quite acheived the mileage I intended but the quality workouts seem to be paying off. Here are a few of the highlights:

- One 90 mile week (followed by a thirty mile recovery week)
- 2 long tempo runs of 24 miles; first at 7:12 pace, second at 7:06 pace
- 1 long fartlek run with 13x1 mile run w/ 1/2mile recovery, pace averaged about 6:40
- 2-3 hard workouts a week including tempo runs during the week including loops of 1/2 mile hill
- Getting very close to racing weight - been at ~142 for last few weeks (need to get to 139 for next Sunday)

Where does this leave me for the race 4/29? Itching to race and hopeful I can break 3 hrs! I've felt strong throughout the long tempo runs and was able to drop the pace down over the last six miles. I certainly am not underestimating the hills on the Big Sur course but I'm hopeful the hills on the Crystal Springs/Sawyer Camp trail where I did my tempo runs were a good approximation. I'm confident I can run at least 3:06 if conditions are favorable but I believe I can run a little faster with competition.

I'll publish my race plan next week.