Friday, October 30, 2009

New Goals....

So, 2009's marathoning season is in the books, and now I enter "maintenance mode" also known as "base building" in preparation for 2010. In 2009, for the first time I ran two marathons in a calendar year, setting 2 PRs and finally busting through that 5 hour barrier with my 4:34:40 finish at St George. I feel that at St George I ran what could possibly be my best marathon effort. Now I have to ask myself...

"What are you going to do next!?"

I wish the answer could be "I'm going to Disneyland!" but it appears that the finances thereto will be insufficient. However, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about setting goals for 2010.

Should I aim to:
  • Run more marathons? (perhaps achieving a sub-4:30 or even target a 4:00 marathon range?)
  • Try a triathlon? (including open-water swim, something I haven't done yet)
  • Do a duathlon? (That's usually a run-bike-run format - like a tri, without the swimming)
  • How about a half-ironman? (There's one in Utah Lake in August...)
  • How about a bike race? Lotoja? 1000 Warriors? Something else? A century?
I'm just not sure. I did get approached at church last week to run in the 2010 Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay, which I think I have my wife talked into letting me do, which will be fun and won't require nearly the training commitment that a marathon (or any of the other above choices) would. But that's in June. The year is only just half over at that point. I need more goals to keep me going, keep me training.

What oh what should I do????

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Couple of weeks "off"

So I thought I'd throw a little update up here just to let anyone who follows know that I'm still around. Until today, I hadn't run at all since the marathon. I've been hitting the gym doing a full-body workout regimen that I'm growing fond of, and I've been cycling a couple times, both indoor and outdoor. I've been staying off my foot, as far as running is concerned, to let the peroneal tendonitis heal, and it's been feeling good. Last Saturday was my 11th wedding anniversary and I took my wife to Lagoon, our local amusement park, where we spent the afternoon and evening walking around and standing in lines and going on rides. After 5 hours of that, I expected to feel something in my foot, but to my delight, I was pain (and pretty much any other sensation)-free in my formerly-inflamed left foot.

So, with that bit of good news, I thought I'd try a short run today and see how it goes. I jumped on the treadmill at lunchtime and started off at a fairly manageable pace of 9:50/mile. My entire left foot felt kind of funny right off the bat, but not on the outside where the peroneal tendon is that has been giving me grief. As I ran, most of it kind of worked itself out, and it felt great to be running again! Not as great as it would have felt outside, but I'm taking baby steps here (metaphorically speaking). Anyway, at about 1.6 miles or so I began to feel the twinge in the side of my foot, so when I got to 2 miles, I pulled over and stopped. I could have run farther. It really wasn't to the point yet that I'd call it "hurting", but nevertheless, I decided to err on the side of caution and let it go. I tried using the eliptical, but that thing is just weird. For those of you that like that machine, I ask only, "Why? How!?" I couldn't stand it for any more than about 100 seconds and I was done.

I guess this means a couple of more weeks of no running and letting the foot really heal up all the way. That's frustrating, but I don't want another major setback, like the marathon turned out to be (as far as foot recovery is concerned). Looks like I will be doing a lot of weights workouts and biking (indoor and out when the weather permits)... which reminds me, I'm accepting donations for (and/or gifts of) winter cycling gear, including but not limited to:
  • arm warmers
  • cycling jackets (they're cycling-specific so they don't ride up in back when you're bent over on the handlebars)
  • cycling vests (see above)
  • leg warmers (not the 80s fashion statement)
  • full-fingered gloves
  • long-sleeved cycling jerseys
  • tights (think black lycra and warm, not ballet)
  • skull caps
  • balaclava

If you really want to give me any of these or donate to the cause, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I'll be happy to provide you my paypal address and/or size information. And you'll have my eternal gratitude. What, that's not enough for you? :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

St. George Marathon 2009 Race Report

We drove down on Wednesday night, spent Thursday running errands and checking out Snow Canyon, Friday with friends in the area and a little swimming at the Washington City Rec Center (I even did a couple of laps in my board shorts with no goggles), and Saturday I woke up at 3:30 and headed to the early buses. Just missed the first two (there goes the massage fast pass!) and didn't win anything either. I'll take a later bus next time and sleep in a little. My foot hadn't been bothering me at all the time we'd been in St George, but I hadn't tried any running on it either.

With about 25 minutes to go, I entered the POP lines and shivered for a while, got done with that, put the warm-up pants in the drop bag, dropped it, and I was off, just next to the 5:00 pace group. I quickly left them behind and thought if I could just stay ahead of them, I'd be happy.

Nothing felt quite right for the first couple of miles. I wasn't warmed up, everything felt kind of wanky. My foot wasn't bothering me, though, so I figured I'd just go with it. My first couple of mile splits were really slow, but it had probably more to do with the crowds than with my self-control of not going out too fast.

1- 10:28
2- 10:53
3- 10:44
4- 10:30

About mile 3 my foot started to ache. I knew that walking wasn't going to make it feel any better, so I kept going. I felt certain I was headed for my first DNF, and I was mentally and emotionally ready to accept it. I think that kept the pressure off and helped, in some strange way, to keep me going. I figured once it got too painful to run, that'd be that. Fortunately, that point never came. It never really got better, but it never really got worse either.

As long as I was keeping it below 11:00 miles, I was happy. As I approached Veyo, I got to chatting with a guy (Travis) who was running his 2nd marathon and hoping for a 5 hour finish. He's from Texas, living in Syracuse, and works nearby in West Valley City. We chatted about our families, college football (he's an Aggie fan, I'm a BYU fan -- made for a fun chat), about work and running. He told me to leave him as we headed up the hill, and on I went. I trudged ahead and didn't walk at all, but made sure to take it really easy:

5- 10:13
6- 10:04
7- 10:13
8- 11:41 (Veyo hill!)
9- 10:50

In 2007, my first marathon and my first SGM, it was the miles after Veyo that did me in. The road keeps heading up. I was ready for it this year, and managed to control my pace, still feeling pretty good, except for the foot. My nutrition plan that had worked pretty well in training was to take a Clif Shot Blok and a swig of water from my fuel belt at every even mile marker, and a swig of Gatorade from the aid stations at every odd mile marker. This, I must say, worked like a charm. Cresting the hill around the half way point made my day. I really wanted to come in around 4:45, and I wanted to run a negative split, with the first half at 2:25 and the second at around 2:20. When I saw the clock at the half way point and it read 2:28, I looked at my Garmin and figured I was about 8 minutes behind gun time, putting me at about 2:20 for the first half... way ahead of schedule! I didn't know if I could hold the pace, but I did know that the second half is a lot more downhill than the first half, so I just kept going.

10- 10:56
11- 11:01
12- 10:33
13- 10:26
14- 10:40
15- 10:05
16- 9:54 (!!! This was not part of the plan!)

I knew the Ledges hill (or "Heartbreak Hill" as I like to call it) was looming at around mile 19, but I was still feeling pretty good. As I headed up that hill, I got to chatting with a lady from Southern California who lives only about 15 miles from where I grew up. She was taking it easy, shooting for a 4:30 or so which was slow for her. I told her I was on pace for my first sub-5, and she was very encouraging, saying that I could probably hit a 4:30 depending on whether there were any more hills. I told her it rolled a little after the Ledges, but nothing significant. She decided to take a little walk break, so I bid her adieu and kept trudging along.

17- 10:11
18- 10:16
19- 10:36 (Ledges hill - it seemed so much bigger in 2007)
20- 10:28
21- 9:38 (!!! Again, what the !?!)

I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep that pace up once I got into town. The last couple of miles in town are a mental challenge for me. You know you're close, but you're just not there yet. The crowds really were thicker than in 2007 (of course, it helps if you're there an hour earlier than I was then!) I just kept asking myself as I ran down Diagonal Street and 300 West, "Can I go any faster?" and I'd pick it up, little by little, but I was definitely starting to fade. I was twittering and texting my wife as I ran (yes, it's really not that hard!), and she told me she'd be just before the chute at mile 26. Sure enough, she was there. I stopped just long enough to high-5 the kids and kiss the wife, and I was off.

22- 10:17
23- 10:21
24- 10:18
25- 10:24
26- 10:22
26.2 2:30 (9:19 pace - a little kick for the end).

Overall time: 4:34:40 (garmin time was 4:34:45). That's a 29 minute PR over Salt Lake 2009, and over an hour better than SGM 07. I'm quite pleased with the result, wanky foot and everything. My foot's really been hurting since finishing the race, and I'm sore otherwise, but overall I feel pretty dang good. I'm hoping staying off the foot for a couple of weeks will let it heal right up and it won't be an ongoing issue. I've had foot pain in this area before, and a month or so off really did the trick then... I hope it does again. On to the next challenge!