Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taper time/Year End Running Review

Taper time for the Walt Disney World Marathon. On January 8, I'll be at the start line for my 8th marathon since 2007, the 6th WDW race. My training has been very good, mainly because, unlike the last four years, I have not had to deal with snow. Like, at all. As in, a brown Christmas this weekend. I've had some snowfall, to be sure, but nothing at all like last year, when by mid-December we had about 20 inches of snow and most seemed to fall on weekends, which meant not being cleared in time for long runs. This year, I had one long run with snow on the ground, and a few other runs that had either snow or somewhat icy conditions. I have had to run in cold weather, but even that has been manageable. 

Combine the great running weather with a generally better training regimen and I have the makings of a great race. Now, I know that almost anything can happen between now and the start of the race, but realistically, I should be set for a shot at yet another PR. This year, I had experienced the following PR changes:

Half Marathon as of 1/1/11 2:09 (2010 Get in Gear)
Half Marathon as of 12/31/11 1:46 (2011 Monster Dash)

Marathon as of 1/1/11 5:17 (2007 WDW Marathon)
Marathon as of 12/31/11 3:56 (2011 Twin Cities Marathon)

My 2011 WDW Marathon time was my first sub 5:00 at 4:46 and I dropped that PR by 50 minutes in October at Twin Cities. 

For the 2012 WDW Marathon, I'm looking for about 3:50, but sub 4:00 is important and anything below 4 hours is fine with me. 

I surprisingly and thankfully spent the year injury-free, unlike last year, but I think a lot of the problems I had last year were related to my weight loss, which occurred mainly in 2010. This year I did lose a bit more weight and I seem to have found a maintenance weight, around 160 lbs. I'd look to lose just a bit more, but I'm happy with where I am now. 

I've also learned to relax more with many of my runs, which keeps me from being too critical when one doesn't go as planned. To me, this is a key concept for me to continue to work on. Overall, I'm very pleased with my running this year and I hope to start 2012 off with a great race at Disney. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Short update-training for 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon continues. I'm feeling good about the training cycle and my progress. I have a goal in mind and a dream goal. I hope to better my Twin Cities Marathon PR from October (3:56). I'm aiming for 3:45 at Disney, with the dream goal being faster than that (no specific time). The weather has been good this year, although mainly because we've had very little precipitation since August. I've felt more relaxed on most of my runs and look forward to getting outside each morning I run. It's nice to feel more comfortable with my training, progress, and overall place in life as I prepare for the race.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Twin Cities Marathon: I ran how fast?

Yesterday, I ran my first Twin Cities Marathon (although it was the 30th year of the race). My goal was to run a sub-4:00 race, with the dream goal being 3:50. I finished in 3:56:34, taking 50 minutes off my PR, which I set this January at the Walt Disney World Marathon. It was a good race, with a few rough miles at the end. Basically the last 3-4 miles are a gradual incline with a nice little decent in the last 1/2 to 3/4 mile. It's a great course and I will run it again sometime. I'm setting my sights on the Chicago Marathon next year, so I may have to wait another year before I tackle the race.

 I felt good most of the race, although I did walk more than I'd have liked that last few miles. After thinking about it, I realized that the weather was warm (not hot, but warm - it was about 50 degrees at the start of the race and 70 degrees when I finished) and sunny. This probably sapped a little energy out of me, because I had some arm warmers on through most of the race, finally shedding them at about mile 19 or so. I also thought my Garmin 405 Forerunner had died, so I used a Timex watch for the race. This meant I didn't have my lap paces available to me. I ran the race by how my body felt and how the pace felt. I must have done all right, although I'd love to see what my splits were for the race. I am certainly not complaining (and last night, I tried charging my watch again and seems to be working again-weird).

When this year started, my marathon PR was 5:17. Now my PR is 3:56. I plan on getting it down even further. I have ideas for Walt Disney World in January and the marathons after that next year, but for today, I'm going to enjoy this race.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I may be overtraining right now, which is really not optimal, as I have a half marathon in three weeks, the Twin Cities Marathon in seven weeks and the WDW Marathon in January. I've never run so many races in one year as this year and I'm wondering if I was too ambitious with this race schedule.

Counting from January 2011 to January 2012, I have run or plan to run:

January 2011 - Goofy Challenge + Disney 5k
April 2011 - Get in Gear Half-Marathon
June 2011 - Minneapolis Half-Marathon
September 2011 - Disneyland Half-Marathon
October 2011- Twin Cities Marathon
January 2012 - WDW Marathon

Now, for some runners, that's not a busy race schedule, but for me, that's about double the number of races I normally run. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited that I can run that many races, but having not trained for that many races before, I'm not sure if my training plan is appropriate.

I don't have the aches and pains I had last year as I lost weight, but I've noticed that a few of my long runs the last several weeks have not felt as strong or as good as earlier this summer. I don't think it's the heat and humidity (although those are contributing factors), but general wear and tear that I am not used to. I do think that my better consistency in doing core work has helped, as has keeping the weight off. I'm open to suggestions and thoughts about training more heavily than normal. I'd like to end this race cycle with some PRs and a good feeling going into next year's races.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Busted Run

Yesterday I was planning on an 18 mile run. Although I intended to get up and get out on the road early (for a weekend), I slept in a little longer than I planned. I was trying a new water bottle belt that didn't work so well and I had to go back home to get one of our older belts. Then I started out relatively fine, but a little fast. I tried to slow down several times to be at the pace I wanted (around 8:40), but found myself going faster more often than I'd like. I ran the first 5-6 miles on a familiar route, but was trying a new addition to my route to get a 9 mile out to do an out-and-back run. It was hillier than I realized and I had run hills yesterday. About 8.5 miles in, something started to not feel right about the run. I kept at it for a while longer and then stopped my run.

This is only the second time I've stopped a run early in about 8 years of running. I have ended runs outside due to weather, but finished them on my elliptical. This one I didn't finish. Something just didn't feel right. I was disappointed, but didn't feel down. Until about an hour or so later. Since then, I've felt off, wondering if I should have toughed it out or somehow tried to finish. I suspect i could have finished, but maybe I needed to not complete this run to remember how much planning to run is an important as doing the run.

Sorry for the rambling, but I'm still processing the run and the lessons I learned.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Belated Race Report

Last Sunday, I ran the Minneapolis Half Marathon. Last year I ran the full marathon here and swore to never run it again. How time changes things. Since I've felt better and faster recently, I decided to give the half a try again. I'm glad I did. In April, I ran a half and set a new PR of 1:55:48. That course was not nearly as hilly as the course I ran on Sunday. I planned on treating the run as a supported training run (and then didn't use the water stops at all), so I figured finishing under 2:10 would be fine with me.

As I started the race, I was able to find a good pace and kept it mile after mile. While I didn't use the water stops, I did take my gels and Endurolyte drink regularly. I felt good, even on the hills, and actually set another PR, finishing in 1:55:18. True this is a PR by .3 seconds, but considering I had figured a slower race, I was very happy. The weather really cooperated, too, cool temps at the beginning of the race, clear skies, no wind, basically a perfect day to run.

So now I'm beginning my training for the Twin Cities Marathon in early October. Part of that training will be running the Disneyland Half on Labor Day weekend. I'll get my Coast-to-Coast medal when I finish (for doing races at WDW and DL in the same year) and I'm excited to be going to Disneyland for the first time. After Twin Cities, I'll start training for the WDW Marathon, where it's my plan to PR again. I'm trying to get to where I can BQ (Boston qualify) and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me. I'm ready to go, bring it on!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Long time

Yes, it's been a long time since my last post and much has changed. Not drastically, but still my life today is different than I thought it would be even a year ago.

Several good things have happened, both personally and at work. I have lost even more weight and I'm currently hovering between 158-160 lbs. I do want to lose a little more weight and then stabilize between 150-155. I'm okay where I am now, but I think that little extra less will help with another really neat thing that has happened in my personal life, which is I've been running much better and much faster lately.

In late April, I ran a half-marathon and set a new PR of 1:55, which was my first sub-2:00 half. I was extremely excited and very happy with my training and how well the race went (despite yet another race in the rain). The next weekend I ran 13 miles at the cabin and finished almost as fast. My paces have improved dramatically and I attribute that to a few things: weighing less, believing I can run faster, and great support from family and friends.

On a professional level, I was promoted to manager and given a direct report. Although I knew this was in the works, you never know for sure in today's business climate. Also. I was able to go to a conference at WDW and I got to stay at Coronado Springs for the first time. The resort is fine, but not as nice as others on site.

Laura and Sean joined me at the end of the conference and we stayed at Pop Century. We had a great time, even the day we had thunderstorms (not rain, thunder & lightning) ALL day. From 6:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night with very few breaks, we had full-blown thunderboomers. It was an interesting experience in the parks.

Aside from that news, my life is generally going well. I have a half in two weeks, then my next race is in August. We're still doing the Disneyland Half in Sept. and I'm going to do the Twin Cities Marathon in October, possibly with a guest runner.

Until next time, keep moving forward!

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Random thoughts on post-marathon training

It's been almost four weeks since I ran the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. This was my fifth straight year doing at least the marathon and the first time I have done an more active recovery. Two days after running both the half and full marathons, I ran three miles with no pain (soreness, yes, especially in my quads). I ran 3-4 miles two days after that and 6 miles on the Saturday after the marathon weekend. The last several years I didn't get back to 6 miles until at least 4 weeks after the race. Now, four weeks later, I'm planning 10 miles (hopefully outside if the weather cooperates ).

I feel so much stronger and better having lost almost 60 pounds since July 2009, most of which I lost last year after buckling down in March and moving to a vegan lifestyle. I am eager to get back into race training and will be starting a new base program as I prepare for a half-marathon in late April.
As spring approaches, I'll ramp up my cross training, getting back on the bike to explore some of the great trails around the area.

Also, I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon October 2. My wife and I are going to do the Disneyland Half-Marathon in early September. With a few 10K races mixed in, I should have a fun, full year of racing.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The race report I posted a few days ago seems fairly accurate, if brief. So I thought I'd post some memories of the weekend, rather than a full report a week later.

First, my wife and I swore we would not do the 2012 WDW Marathon, but as we sat on he bus to the race start on Saturday for the half I looked at her and said "We're going to do this next year, aren't we?" So we've decided that yes, we'll be back. Whether I do the Goofy again isn't clear yet, but my wife will do the half and I'll do at least the full.

I'd like us, with our son, to try the 5k since he enjoyed the Kid's Race a lot, but that may be too long of a distance for a 6 year-old to walk without carrying him for some distance. He will at least do another Kid's Race, as he's already asked about it. Next year we will make sure that we register early enough to do the Friday race. He did the Saturday race, which was a bit of a logistical nightmare to get myself and my wife from the finish of the half back to the resort and then over to Disney's Wide World of Sports in time for the race. We made it fine, although my wife scrambled to get to the race area at the back of DWWOS. He enjoyed the race and so did I, even though I had to run with him!

This year, our niece came down with us to watch our son, primarily during the packet pickup and expo and Saturday morning while we both ran the half. It was great having someone else to help keep him busy and allow us to get our packets, check out the expo, and get to the start of the half without worry. She was a real trooper and she said she had a good time, which is good as we'll ask her to go down with us again next year, if she can.

Random thoughts on the races: Running with friends rocks! I don't train with my wife and rarely run with anyone else, so I'm not used to running partners, but I had good friends to run both the half and full. Stan and I ran both races and Josh joined us on Sunday. These guys kept my paces in the right range, which directly contributed to the PR I got in the full. I really enjoyed running with them and I hope to race with them again next year.

There seemed to be more characters out on the course this year, including a few I'd never seen before: Launchpad McQuack from Ducktales and Chicken Little and Abby. I think that Disney did a great job keeping the runners' spirits up this year. Last year the cold made racing tough, I can't imagine how the folks lining the course must have felt. This year we had perfect running weather both days and everyone-racers, volunteers, spectators-all seemed to enjoy themselves.

Walking around Epcot with four medals Sunday after the race was great, so many people congratulate you that it feels like those medals are weightless. When I went to meet my wife and son after the race Sunday, I took the boat from Boardwalk over to International Gateway (I was a bit tired by then!) and as I got on the boat with my clanking medals, everyone on the boat cheered for me. I was not expecting that at all and I felt really proud of what I'd done with my races.

What's ahead for this year? I plan on running the Twin Cities Marathon in October. My wife and I are considering doing the Disneyland Half in September to get our Coast to Coast medals. I plan on stretching my training this year to prep for a BQ race as early as next year, too. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend

Four days after Sunday's marathon and I'm already in the post-marathon blues. This past weekend I ran the Goofy Challenge with good friends, in great running weather, and at paces that I hoped to do. The trip could not have gone any better in my mind. I was only 5 minutes off my half-marathon PR and that after deciding not to push during the race. I set a new marathon PR by 8 minutes and felt pretty good after the race. Yet, I miss seeing my friends and, as always, I miss being at Walt Disney World. I'll have a more comprehensive race weekend report up very soon, but I wanted to get a brief post out now that I'm back home.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Brief note before WDW Marathon

I plan on writing a more complete post about my training the last month or so before we head down to WDW. Have a few thoughts about training for a marathon during the winter, the impact a lack of stretching has on my progress, and what's next after the races are done. As we say at work, more to come.

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