Training Log 4/20-26

Week of April 20 – 26

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 20 Long Run
Monday 10
Tuesday 11 6 Core, Drills and Strides
Wednesday 12 6 6 x 20 sec
Thursday 4 12 Workout
Friday 10 6 Core
Saturday 10
Week Total 107

Even though I raced on Saturday of last week, I still did my long run on Sunday. Cole and I were still in Boston, and not wanted to run along the Charles River again, we headed towards Harvard. The Campus at Harvard is very beautiful, and Cole commented, “No wonder they think they are better than everyone, just look at where they go to school.” Once we made it through campus, we took a turn and proceeded to get lost. While it was not very dramatic, as we only ran 20 minutes or so longer than we wanted, it was frustrating. After almost 2:15, we made it back to the hotel only to have to hurry up to watch a friend break a world record. Jenna Wrieden, the High Point University Women’s Coach, smashed the Women’s Half Marathon Record on a treadmill, by an astounding 14 minutes. This was done at the Marathon Expo, and by the end there was quite a crowd cheering her on!

Jenna "en route" to a World Record! Cole is extra excited being a High Point Alum.

Jenna “en route” to a World Record! Cole is extra excited being a High Point Alum.

On Monday, Cole and I ran along the last few miles of the Boston Course to cheer on the runners. You can read about my experience at Boston here.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both typical split days, 10-12 miles in the morning and 6 or so in the afternoon. They were days that I used to recover from the race, the adventurous long run, and traveling in general.

Thursday was the most important day of the week. It was my last big workout before the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford on May 4. While the workout seems pretty far away from the race, there is a reason for that. Many studies show that it takes around 10 days to benefit from a workout/race. So for me to get any aerobic benefits for any big race, Pete will schedule my last workout around 10 days before. Another reason that this workout was so special is that we got to head to sea level, at the Wake Forrest track.

The workout was scheduled to be a long one, specific to running a 10000m on the track. It started with a 2000m piece at 5000m rhythm, around 64 seconds a lap. I got a big block of rest, 8 minutes, before starting 7 x 1000m, set up into sets of 4 and 3. I got 2 minutes rest between reps and 3:30 minutes between the sets. I finished the workout with 3 x 400m with 90 seconds rest.

Workout:

2000m, 8min; 4/3 x 1000m, 2 min reps, 3:30 min sets; 3 x 400m, 90 sec

After a proper warm up Joe, George, and I were on our way. George was doing a 2 mile time trail at 5000m pace so Joe and I dropped of at 2000m, which we hit in 5:25. During this rep I could tell that I was going to have a good one. After my long break, which I was anxious to get going again, I started my 1kms. I know that I am feeling good when I get anxious to start reps during a workout, and I tend to start them a few seconds early. My 1kms, were supposed to start around 10000m pace, which felt very easy. After a few reps, I felt like that I was almost mechanical. It was a good feeling, and hopefully I will feel that way again at Stanford. I finished my 1kms and all I could think was that I felt like I was jogging, but still running fast. This was very encouraging. The 400 meter reps I was able to do with Joe, and we were cruising around 61 second pace. It was great to finish so well, especially with the fact that I was on the 13th mile of the day. Finishing with something a bit faster is good because it works on running fast when your legs are a bit tired, like they would be at the end of a race. Being able to close races has been one of my goals for the year, so doing some quick shorter reps at the end has help me work on it. Overall, this workout was a huge confidence booster. I would wager to say that it might be the best workout I have had since I have been at ZAP.

Splits:

5:25; 2:50, 2:49, 2:48, 2:48; 2:45, 2:45, 2:44; 61, 62, 61

The rest of the week was recovering from Thursday, as Friday was a typical double I described above and Saturday was my usual 10 miles at the Greenway in Boone. I did not really learn anything new this week, but reinforced what I already know, that I am in good shape. With a big race coming up, the hay is in the barn and there is not much I can do besides believe in my abilities. This week I will take a look back at my training log, knowing that all of the work from the last few months has been geared toward running fast in the track season.

Marathon Monday

Last week I traveled to Boston to run the BAA 5km. Along with racing on Saturday, I was able to stay and watch the marathon. It was an experience that I will never forget, to say the least. I have been to hundreds of races through out my running career and none match the energy of the race, including the World Championships last month.

Reebok gave us these  laces to commemorate last years bombings.

Reebok gave us these laces to commemorate last years bombings.

As many of you know, last year the Marathon was beset by tragedy when two men detonated bombs along the famed Boylston Street. This single act made this year’s marathon so much more significant. For many people it was no longer just a race, but a way to “reclaim the finish line.” This idea brought fans and runners out in droves. On Marathon Monday, Cole and ran the along the final 6 miles of the course, and I was awed by the amount of people that were there to cheer on the runners. There was hardly a single spot without a person. There was a constant chatter, which would turn in to defining roar, as the runners would fly by. The energy in the air like no other race I have been to, and in the end it led to amazing performances the men and women’s races.

The Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious races in the world. Athletes come from all over the world to compete. Lately, American distance runners have not had much success in winning this storied footrace. It had been 31 years since an American last won Boston (Greg Meyer, 1984), which has been a chip on the shoulder of Americans distance runners. With the tragic events of last year it would have meant even more if an American won the race.

Coming into the race there was one American who was seen as having the best chance of winning, hometown favorite, Shalane Flanagan. Unfortunately, she finished 7th after a valiant attempt. She blazed through the first half of the race well under course record pace, only to be broken up the infamous Heartbreak Hill. What Shalane did was bold, brave, and risky and did the cards were not in her favor. Rita Jeptoo, the defending champ, was unbeatable. She ran a 2 minute course record, along with becoming the 6th fastest woman in history. Even Shalane admitted that Jeptoo deserved to win. But she has vowed to come back next year and as many years as it takes to win.

On the men’s side, the chance of an American winning was seen as very slim. The BAA had assembled the greatest field ever for the Boston Marathon. There were a slew of guys that had run under 2:07, with only one American among them, Ryan Hall. But it was the near 39 year old Meb who would wear the golden wreath. In a move that was bold and underestimated by the rest of the field, Meb broke away and built up a lead that was insurmountable to close. Meb took an early risk and it paid off. Seeing him and Shalane show no fear was very inspiring. Both ran the race to win, but unfortunately only one was able to do so. It reminded me that this is the way to run races, the way to win races. You have to be willing to put it all on the line with the dream that you can win the race. With out the dream of winning, the reality becomes impossible. But there is always a risk, and often times it is just dumb luck that lets you take advantage of your gamble. For Shalane, her risk did not pay off as the rest of the field went with her. But luck was on Meb’s side as the “big guns” let him get too far away.

One thought that I have about Meb’s victory is that there was no one better to win Boston this year. He is a very genuine person and has dedicated his whole life to the sport. In a post race interview, he said that this win was “for the people” of Boston and the United State. And there is no better representation of the quintessential American than Meb. His family came to American as refugees from Eritrea when he was a young boy, escaping a horrible war. He has grown up as an American and after winning this weekend; I could tell just how proud he is to be American. He is holding back tears as the National Anthem is played. It is often forgotten that Meb has also had many struggles. After his win last Saturday, no one was talking about his race at the New York Marathon, where he hobbled home in a disappointing 2:23. That race was five months ago! After that race he could have retired. He could have said, “I have given everything I had to the sport, it was a great ride.” But instead, nearing the age of 39, he was able to come out to Boston and run a personal best and win.

My last thought is that having been to a major marathon, let alone one as inspiring as the Boston Marathon, I now am even more excited to debut this fall. I watched guys that I have been competing against in shorter races, run very fast, and I know that I can match those performances. And after this weekend, I know that at some point in my career, I will run the Boston Marathon, and I will dream of putting on the golden wreath just like Meb.

Links:

Letsrun Coverage of Boston 2014
Letsrun Women’s Recap
Letsrun Women’s 4 Thoughts
Letsrun Men’s Preview
Letsrun Men’s Review
Letsrun – The Story Behind Meb
Toni Reavis Article
Dick Patrick – Meb Strong
Shalane Post Race Interview

Training Log 4/13-19

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 17 Long Run, Drills and Strides
Monday 8 6 Core, Drills and Strides
Tuesday 14 Workout
Wednesday 12 6 Core, Drills and Strides
Thursday 12 Core, Drills and Strides
Friday 8 4 x 30 sec
Saturday 11 Race
Week Total 95

 Week of Training April 13-19

This week was very busy. After a few weeks of being settled at ZAP, I headed out to Boston to race and partake in the festivities of the Marathon. This weekend was extremely fun, and a very emotional.

Our long run on Sunday was just a “time on your feet,” basically meaning that we had no surges. We just headed out for a 1:50 run at the Park. I felt very smooth and relaxed. Since I had a race this weekend, I did some drills and strides to finish the day.

Tuesday was my workout for the week. It was far enough from the race on Saturday so that I could recover, but still get in a good effort. I did a classic ZAP Fartlek, “7 to 1”. This is one of Pete’s favorite workouts to prescribe to us. It is a good aerobic workout, in which you can run as hard and easy as you would like. The “7 to 1” Fartlek is where the hard pieces start at 7 minutes and you work your way down (7, 6, 5, etc., 1). The float in between is always half of what was just the hard piece. So after 7 minutes hard it is a 3:30 minute float. Also, make note that I said float in between. It is not supposed to be a “slog”, but around normal pace. This is so that you keep your heart rate up and get a better aerobic benefit from it.

BAA 5k BibMy instructions for this workout were to leave 10% in the bank. For me that was to run about 10-12 seconds per mile slower than I normally would. Pete also wanted me to run the 7 and 6 minute pieces around Bass Lake before I started to climb up toward the Manor. I ended up running much to quickly on the first two pieces, even though I felt extremely relaxed, which is a good thing. I clocked 4:38 and 3:34 (1500m) for two of my laps. Despite the fact that felt very good, I made a conscious choice for the next few reps to be easier. I still wanted to have 10% left in the tank when I was finished. At the start of my 5 minute rep I began my ascent to the Manor. I have done this climb many times and while my time to the Manor (14:45) was 45 seconds slower than my fastest, I was content knowing that I had had quite a bit left. The 2 and 1 minute reps were done coming down from the Manor. Pete wanted me to do this because it would help work on my turn over before the race. I have not done much running, faster than 4:30 pace, so any chance that I can will only help me as track season approaches.

The rest of the week was getting ready to race on Saturday. I did my drills and strides after every run, and 4 x 30 seconds after my pre race run on Friday.

The Race

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning because the race started at 8 am. Looking outside, I could tell that the weather just about perfect, 45º and sunny, with a slight breeze, and with such a fast field assembled it was going to be a great day to run fast. I warmed up around the Boston Commons and Gardens (where the race started) and before I knew it the national anthem was being played. We lined up and were soon on our way. I got out well, but was concerned when 400 meters in, I could feel a little burn in my legs. This was the fastest I had gone out in a race since the fall, and had forgotten what it feels like to go out so fast. I told myself that it was normal to have a slight lactic feeling during such a fast, short race. I also knew that I was much more aerobically fit than anaerobic, so the lactic would not build up as quickly.


Before I knew it, we had passed the mile (4:22!) and I was feeling a bit more settled. The pack had punched up and I was cruising off the back. At the turn around point, someone up front made a move and it turned into a “track race” as Pete would say. Everyone was strung out and I found myself in the second pack of guys watching the front group pull away. During this part of the race I found myself losing focus. Looking back, this was the biggest mistake I made in the entire race. In a half marathon, you can settle and just cruise along for a bit. But that is not something that can be done in a 5km, especially on the roads. Compared to the half, the race felt so short. Eventually I passed a clock that read 10:30 and I snapped out of my lull realizing that I only had 3 minutes left to run, so I made a big move and I pressed to the finish for a new PR, 13:42.

This race was very important because I learned (or relearned) quite a bit from it. My first takeaway is that with track coming up, I will need to keep my focus sharp for the entirety of the race. It is well known that the shorter the race the less room for mistakes. It took one shorter race for me to realize that I need to get that track like focus back. Another takeaway is that I need to start thinking that I run and belong with the top group in any race. When I run aggressive and confident, I tend to run fantastic, like the USA 12km Championships last fall or the USA Half Marathon Championships in January. It would be a lie to day that I was not intimidated by some of the athletes in the field. There were multiple guys who had run under 13:10, including the reigning Olympic Silver medalist. With how the race played out I ended up being the best of the rest. The top 5 broke away from the field, now I just need to have no hesitation when those top guys breakaway. I will never know what could have happened unless I went with them. Lastly, I learned, well really just reinforced, the fact that I am in good shape. With out having much specific 5km work, I set a new PR. Not just a road PR, but also a track one as well. For those who do not know, running on the roads is slower than running on the track, even if the course is flat. If I can run my fastest 5km ever on the roads, I know that I am ready for some big things on the track over the next few months.

Up next I am running the 10,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 4th. Right now I am going into the race full of confidence and inspiration from my trip to Beantown. Later this week I will get a blog on my thoughts of the Boston Marathon, and Meb’s historic win.

Links:

Letsrun Recap of the 5km
Letsrun 5 takeaways from the 5km
Results from the 5km
Level Renner Video of the Race
Level Renner Inter view with Nick McCormick

Training Log 4/6-12

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 17 Long Run, Drills and Strides
Monday 7 7 Core
Tuesday 13 Workout
Wednesday 12 6 Core
Thursday 15 Core, Drills and Strides
Friday 13 Track Workout
Saturday 10
Week Total 100

 

This week was the first up week in my current cycle. After running very little last week while recovering from the World Half, it was a big jump in miles. Even though I increased my miles almost 300%, I felt vey good. It is amazing that now I can run 100 miles in a week and not even bat an eye, while in college I saw it as very difficult.

Sunday was long run at Moses Cone Park. I love running at the Park, because there are so many different trails and good elevation changes. For most of our long runs we tend to do a few loops around Bass Lake before heading into other parts of the park. This is done so that we have a proper time to warm up. As I get older I have noticed that it tends to take me a bit longer to warm up and actually feel good on runs. Long gone are the days that I can step out the door and click off a good pace. These “old” muscles are much stronger and faster, but the trade off is being more injury prone, especially when not properly warmed up.

Tuesday was our aerobic workout day. Notice that I said “our,” I actually got to run a workout with someone. The last few months have been lonely during my workouts. Since I was on a different training schedule and focusing on a different race, I have done most of my workouts by myself. Tuesday’s workout was on Bass Lake (the loop around the lake is exactly 1500m). We started with a 3km to open, followed by 4 x 1500m, and finished with 4 x 400m. Pete wanted it to be an effort based workout and not worry much about the splits, which ended up being good because it was extremely windy and had rained all night the night before, which made the lake soft as a pillow. It was so windy and gusty that on one of our reps, George and I saw a bird that was unable to fly into the wind. The workout went well, but by the end I could feel the effects of the wind taking its toll and I was starting to tire. Instead of picking it up I decided to focus on maintaining pace. Looking back at the workout, I notice that my times were not slow at all, especially considering the terrible conditions.

Workout:

3km, 3:30 rest; 4 x 1500m, 1:45 rest; 4 x 400m, 1:30 rest

Splits:

9:02; 4:29, 4:29, 4:30, 4:29; 67, 65, 70, 63
(The 400m were alternating into a headwind and tailwind, with gusts affecting the times)

 

Travis and/or Starburst. He was built to run!

Travis and/or Starburst. He was built to run!

Wednesday was a typical double from the fall, 12 miles in the morning and 6 in the afternoon. I actually grew to really like this double. I like doing the much longer run in the morning and following it up with the shorter run in the afternoon.

On Thursday we headed to Mulberry Creek Road. It is about a 20 minute drive down the mountain from ZAP, so is at much lower elevation. We will often come here in the fall and spring for our medium long run. It is a great place to run, as it is a dirt road where there is not much traffic. But we did get to see Starburst/Travis, who ended up running around 12 miles with George, Joe, and me (We do not really know what his name is and these were the two that we have decided on).

Friday was an exciting day, because it was my first track workout in nine months, twenty-one days, but who’s counting. I have always loved running track, because for me it is the time I get to put on spikes and run fast. While I had been on the track once between USATF Nationals last summer and Friday, it was only for a few 200m strides. This workout was to be my first big track workout of the year.

The workout Pete prescribed was an opening piece of 2400m (6 laps) around 10,000m pace, but we were supposed to do in and outs every 100m. In and outs are where you run a certain distance faster, then take the next section a little easier. In and outs are a great way to train for a race situation where there is a lot of surging. Even though Pete did not want us to change pace too much, the surges eventually took a toll on me. Also for the last 4 months I have been training my body to run 4:40 miles very comfortably, which I got pretty good at doing. But this opening piece was around 4:30 pace, and I asking my body to run it comfortably; it was a bit of a shock to say the least. Luckily I had two guys, George and Griff, to run with on this piece.

After the opening piece, George and Griff started their own workout of 400m repeats, while I had the most confusing workout I think I have ever had. There were so many different parts and pieces and I was running distances that I do not usually run, like 700m. Here is the best way to explain it:

2400m with 100m in and outs, 3:30 min rest
3 x (700m, 1:45 min rest, 400m, 1:15 min rest, 200m; 500m, 1:15 min rest, 300m, 45 sec rest, 100m) 2:30 min rest between sets
800m snowball on the 200m

 

Spikes at the TrackJust looking at it makes my head spin, but some how I figured it out and made it through. The next segment started out a bit rough, as the opening 2400m had put a good about of junk in my legs. But that is the goal of an opening piece. As the first set progressed I started to feel more comfortable running the faster paces, and my legs were beginning to recover. The second set went by very comfortable and the last set I put my spikes on and ran the fastest. A big take away that I got from this part of the workout was that I am very aerobically fit. To put all of the junk in my legs from the opening piece, but still be able to recover while running fast was a huge boost in confidence.

The final segment of the workout was a snowball 800m. I am very bad at snowball reps, as I usually go out too fast, and this was no different. It is hard to move forward when the first 200m is in 32 seconds. The ideal splits for a snowball 800m would be something like 34, 32, 31, and 30 seconds. Instead I went out too fast and just tried to hold on. But since it was my last piece and rest of the workout was very good, it was not a big deal.

Splits:

6:46;    1:58, 64, 29; 82, 47, 14
1:55, 64, 31; 80, 46, 15
1:52, 62, 29; 77, 44, 13;            2:03

Training Log 3/30-4/5

Week of March 30 – April 5

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 2 15 min pre travel shake out
Monday Off Day
Tuesday 7
Wednesday Off Day
Thursday 9
Friday 11
Saturday 9
Week Total 38

Two weeks ago I did not do a weekly recap of my training. There are a few reasons why. The first is that I felt very lazy having a big down week. When given the opportunity to relax and recover, I tend to be very lazy and not want to do a whole lot of anything, besides catch up on How I Met Your Mother. It is pretty ironic that when I should have more time and energy to accomplish things, I tend to do the opposite.

Another reason is that with so much downtime and traveling the week before, I did not feel that I had a daily rhythm. I have found that I function best when I have some sort of rhythm day to day. Even if I am doing something non-stop for the entire day, as long as it is the same thing. When I was student teaching my last year of school, I was not doing everything I possibly could to improve as a runner. In fact I was hardly doing any of the little things: I was not getting enough sleep, doing core, stretching/rolling out, or eating properly. I was either on my feet or sitting at a desk for most of the day. I often look back and wonder how I was able to run as fast as I did. I think that partly it was because I had some sort of rhythm in my life. Four days a week I was in the classroom from 7:30 to 3:30 and running after wards. I had some sort of rhythm to my life. Now that I am in full training mode again, I feel more motivation to do things, except my taxes.

The final reason that I did not write about last week was that I convinced myself that this week did not really matter because it was a down week. I thought that it could merit a passing mention in the next week’s post, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided that this week was just as important as any other. Pete always says, “The absence of training is not the lack of training, but part of it.” These are wise words that not many young runners understand. I know that in my youth, I sure as hell did not. For the first few years of college, I would train myself into the ground during the season, to the point that I would be holding on by the end, if I made it to the end. It took quite a few years, but I think that I figured it out by my last years of school. Now I have come to accept the idea that a day off is not a bad thing, but that it can actually help you feel better.

With all of the talk about recover, this week was very easy after running a half marathon the week before. It was also part of Pete’s bigger plan to have a down week after the end of a big cycle. This last cycle was nine weeks long, and was one of the most intense I have done. While I was running more miles a week this fall, I was not working out twice a week. Looking back at this cycle, I think that it was a good thing that I was not running quite as many miles as the fall, because it allowed me to have higher quality workouts. This is one of the reasons why I have now had two solid performances at the half marathon.

My next cycle will be a bit longer, but will end with some summer races. Since this last cycle was such a good success, I am looking forward to what I can accomplish in the coming weeks, and into my build up to a fall marathon. But first track season is on the horizon, which means I get to focus on knocking off a few PBs that have been bugging me. But in order to do this I will have to have some good training in the weeks to come.

Since running can be very objective and numbers based, here are some of the stats from my 9 week cycle leading to the World Half Marathon Champs (starting the week of 1/26-2/1):

Total Miles – 852
Average MPW – 94.6667
Number of runs – 80
Average run – 10.65
Number of workouts – 9.5
Number of races – 2.5 (I am counting Reedy River as half a race and half a workout)

 

5 Thoughts After the World Half Marathon Championships

My travel to Copenhagen started Monday night, and initially got off to a rocky start. I arrived to the airport with more than two hours to spare, only to find out that my flight was delayed by more than FOUR hours. There was nothing I could do about it, so I ended up eating dinner at the airport and hung out, aka people watched. Eventually I boarded my flight and I was on my way to Europe! The rest of my travel was smooth sailing and I got to my hotel in Denmark around 5pm (1700, they use a 24 hour clock there). Knowing that if I did not run right away I would lose the light and my motivation, I headed out with my roommate, Fernando Cabada. The run was our first exploration around the city, but we only ran along the river and did not see much. I got back and was pretty tired, but knew I had to make it to 9pm before I could fall asleep, so that I could easily adjust to the time difference.

Shaddy, Fernando, Me, JBThe next morning I went running with Fernando and two others on the USA Team, Shadrack Biowatt (Shaddy) and Josphat Boit (JB). Wednesday was also my first day to walk around the city. Fernando and I headed up to the city center. We found the famous Strøget Street (very hard to pronounce for Americans). Here there are all sorts of shops, from expensive stores, like Louis Vuitton and Emporio Armani, to basic food carts. One of the food carts served Belgian waffles and crepes, which were delicious. The street was very busy and there were all sorts of people walking around. I noticed how cosmopolitan the city was. Beyond just the tourists, there were street performers, businessmen, and local residents.

Later in the day we had our first team meeting, where I was able to meet everyone on the team. Two people that I had not met before were the team managers, Colleen De Reuck and Peter Henkes. Colleen is one the best American female runners ever. She has run 1:08 for the half marathon, along with representing the United States multiple times. She was an easygoing person and I enjoyed having her around, even if she was the girl’s team manager. The guy’s team manager was Peter Henkes. He has been coaching athletes from Wisconsin for many years. He also runs a website that promotes running in his native Wisconsin. Peter was very enthusiastic and positive, which was great to have around. Just by talking to him you can see his passion for the sport and that he is very willing to give back. It was fantastic to have these two around to help out with organizing and just being there to support us.

Thursday I ran with my other USA teammate, Matt Llano. After my run I headed over to Pete’s hotel and I ate lunch with him. Then Fernando and I walked around the city. We also took a boat tour, which was a total tourist thing to do, but we did get to see quite a bit of the city. The tour started out in the city center, the oldest part of Copenhagen, and then headed out to the port. The tour took us to iconic parts of the city including Nyhavn (Translation: New Harbor), Kastellet (A Historic Fortress), and Freetown Christiana, where all the hippies live according to our boat captain. Christiana is a very interesting area. It is a neighborhood of the city that is partially self governing, with their own set of laws. One thing that was cool about Christiana was that most of the buildings had some sort of graffiti or paintings on them, depending on how you look at it.

For meals, the hotel served all of the athletes a buffet. There was quite a spread of food, including a fair amount of smoked fish, a staple among the Danish and Scandinavia in general. On Thursday night, the Team USA table was full, so I decided to make some new foreign friends, and sat down at a near by table. Already sitting there was the Danish team. I introduced myself and we struck up a conversation. With all of us being running nerds, most of the conversation was about running, but they did ask about where I live in the US and what I thought about Denmark. I enjoyed meeting them and we ended up hanging out on Saturday night.

On Friday I decided to run by myself and collect my thoughts. Besides just the run, I actually spent quite a bit of the day alone, as I headed to the city center by myself. I went to the top of the City Hall Tower, which had some awesome views of the city. I headed back to the hotel, because I wanted to save my legs for Saturday. The rest of the day I spent hanging out around the hotel and Fernando and I watched a movie to pass the time.

View from the City Hall Tower. Looking from the city center on the Left.

View from the City Hall Tower. Looking from the city center on the Left.

Saturday, the day of the big race, I woke up around my normal time since the race was not until 1 pm. It was very nice to not have to wake up extremely early to get ready to race. (Maybe some of the race directors in the US should take note; hint, hint.) I went for a short shake out jog around the near by lake, and ate breakfast. At 11, we boarded the bus that took us right to the start (talk about VIP status). Our staging area was in Børsen, one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen. Each country had their own little cubical set up in the Exchange Hall. The Hall was beautifully decorated, with three huge chandeliers.

Fifteen minutes before the gun we were lead out to the starting line. To me it felt like I was entering a boxing match. There were loads of people on both sides of the fence cheering and taking our pictures. Most likely it was not this dramatic, but that is what I choose to think it looked like. After a few strides, we were all called back to the starting line and were crammed into a small road. I have never been that close to other runners at the start. Since everyone wanted a spot up front I took one on the second line, knowing that it only be a second or two would be lost by not being up front.

The starter, the Crown Prince of Denmark, yelled, “On your marks…” and it seemed like an eternity before the gun went off. Since we were packed in there like sardines, it was a chaotic start. I noticed more than one person fall around me, and luckily I did not follow them to the ground. After the first few harrowing seconds, I found a spot and began to focus on my race and repeat my mantra, “Stay relaxed, be aggressive.” Pete is a fan of having a mantra that you can repeat. This serves two purposes. One is to relax into a rhythm, and the other is for motivation. I kept repeating my mantra for the first few kilometers. Conveniently, the race did not go out ridiculously fast, and I found myself cruising right behind the front pack. This was a great place to be because I did not have to worry about running a specific pace and I was not using much energy trying to lead a group.

World Half Champs 1I stayed tucked in behind the front pack through the 5km (14:30), but then the leaders began to string out the group. Eventually the front pack had broken away and the rest of the group was strung out behind, including myself. Still focusing on my mantra, “Stay relaxed, be aggressive,” I tried to maintain an even pace. By 10km (28:56), I still felt very good and running with a small group, but could see a slew of guys in front of me. I was hoping that most of those guys went out too fast, and that I would start to catch them, but it turned out that I was bit over my head.

The second half of the race was very tough, and eventually the scorching pace caught up to me. But the same was happening for everyone around me. Only one guy passed me in the last half of the race, and it was only in the few minutes. I rounded the last corner and there was only 100 meters left, which was a relieving sight.

After finishing, I knew that JB had finished in front of me, and soon both Matt and Shaddy finished. It was awesome to see them finish right behind me, as I knew we had a chance to place well in the team standings. Initially I heard that it was close between Japan and us for 5th, but soon we found out we finished 7th. While it was a bit disappointing, and a far cry from our hope of top three, we all knew that we raced well.

Team USA right after the Race! 7th!

Team USA right after the Race! 7th!

Eventually, we cooled down, and headed back to the hotel, where I stuffed my plate full with as much food as possible. By the time I finished eating, it was well past 3, and the day seemed lost for any touristy activities. But the activities was not yet finished. There was a banquet for all of the athletes, so at 7 we headed out. The food was very good, and afterwards they hired a DJ. Later in the night we were hanging out with the Danish team, and all of us headed out to the clubs along Strøget Street. I had a great time winding down from the race with the group that I was with, and ended up staying out much later than I usually do. I got back to the hotel and caught a few hours of sleep before I had to get up and to the airport.

Anthony (Our Trainer), Fernando, and me at the Banquet.

Anthony (Our Trainer), Fernando, and me.

The flight to Toronto was smooth as can be. I took a nap and watched two movies, 12 Years a Slave and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I would be lying if the former did not bring a tear to my eye; I completely understand why it won the academy award for Best Picture. Then the next flight to Charlotte was as good as a flight can be when traveling off of only a few hours sleep. I landed and had another two hours of driving back to ZAP. By 10pm I was home and 15 minutes later I was curled up in my bed.

In accord with my last blog, I have decided to give a review of my race with five thoughts:

  1. It was exhilarating to represent the USA in an international competition. There were so many people on the course who would see my jersey and yell “Go USA.” In the latter part of the race, it was a big motivation and reminder to why I was there running a race.
  2. Big congrats to the USA women. They ran a great race and were a deserved 5th place. All three scorers ran personal bests, including my fellow Western Alumni and bad-ass runner Lauren Kleppin. She started the year with a 75 minute PR and now has a 70 minute half to her name. Along with a top 15 performance.
  3. Copenhagen put on an awesome event. It was said after the race that there were 100,000 people that came out to spectate, and I will believe it. For the first 5km the side of the road was packed with fans, and even in the middle of the race there was hardly 30 feet with out a fan. It was great to experience the enthusiasm of so many fans. I heard a rumor that they are bidding for the 2018 edition of the World Half Marathon Champs, which would be great reason to come back.
  4. I came in with high expectations. From this race I wanted a PR, top 20, and 3rd as a team, and did not hit any of them. But by not achieving them makes me even more motivated. I know that I am capable of running sub 1:01 in the future, and that top 20 is possible, even top 15. I have been steadily improving, and that I will get other chances to run fast. Also, with the fact that American distance running is getting so much better, I know that eventually we will place top three as a team, just hopefully I can be on that team.
  5. Now on to run some fast times on the track. The plan from when I made the team in January was to come off of this race and focus on running a fast 10,000-meter at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 4. This is still the plan, but I come in with quite a bit more confidence. I stated above that I came through 10km in 28:56 feeling very relaxed. This is only 33 seconds off of my personal best and I continued for more than another 10km. With that in mind I know that I will be able to run significantly faster in four weeks out in California.

Splits:

5km            10km            15km            20km            Finish
14:31          28:56            43:45            59:04            1:02:20

 

Links:

IAAF Results

David Monti Article

Lets Run Preview

Lets Run Review

Race Photos

My Photos:

Top 10 Results with the Americans

POS

BIB

ATHLETE

COUNTRY

MARK

 

1 570 Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor KEN 59:08 WL
2 521 Samuel Tsegay ERI 59:21 PB
3 528 Guye Adola ETH 59:21 PB
4 520 Zersenay Tadese ERI 59:38 SB
5 517 Nguse Amlosom ERI 1:00:00
6 572 Wilson Kiprop KEN 1:00:01
7 519 Ghirmay Ghebreslassie ERI 1:00:10 SB
8 518 Samsom Gebreyohannes ERI 1:00:13 PB
9 532 Adugna Takele ETH 1:00:15 PB
10 571 Kenneth Kiprop Kipkemoi KEN 1:00:29 SB
21 624 Josphat Boit USA 1:01:33 PB
33 627 Tyler Pennel USA 1:02:20
35 626 Matt Llano USA 1:02:25
39 623 Shadrack Kiptoo Biwott USA 1:02:28
46 625 Fernando Cabada Jr USA 1:02:54

Training Log 3/23-29

Week of March 23 – 29

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 16 Long Run, Drills and Strides
Monday 12 Light Workout
Tuesday 8 Drills and Strides
Wednesday 8 4 Drills and Strides
Thursday 9 7 x 30 sec, Drills and Strides
Friday 7 4 x 30 sec, Drills
Saturday 18 World Champs!
Week Total 82

WORLD CHAMPS!!

This week was all about getting ready for Saturday. With that in mind, Sunday’s long run was dialed back. It was actually closer to a medium long run than a long run in length. I met Griff and his fiancée at Mulberry Road, and we headed out in to the terrible weather. It was cold and raining for the entire run. Since I had some light surges scheduled for Monday, I did not have any for my long run. By the end I was completely soaked, my hands were numb, and I was eager to get back into my car and turn on the heater.

Monday was my only “workout” for the week and my last run in the States for the week. I have workout in quotations because it was very relaxed. The only instruction I got from Pete was to do 5-6 x 3 minutes during the run, all at couple of percent slower than half marathon pace. I had no set rest, but decided to take 3 minutes. I set the timer on my watch to go off every three minutes, and 25 minutes in to my run I started. It was a good workout because I did not have to focus on hitting specific splits, or really focus on pace. I was just running. The second half of the workout was slightly downhill and I ended up running a bit quicker. Then on the last rep I was on Bass Lake and decided to run a kilometer, just to see what pace I was hitting. It ended up being around 2:57, which is right around half marathon pace. It felt very easy and gave me a boost of confidence going into the weekend.

View from my hotel room. Looking south of the city, towards the industrial part.

View from my hotel room. Looking south of the city, towards the industrial part.
Amager Fælled is in the left of the picture.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I ran with guys on the team. Just south of our hotel was Amager Fælled (Amager Commons), which has a lot of trails and was a great place to run. While I had met all of the guys on the team before, I enjoyed getting to know team better. On Thursday, Pete had me do a few light 30 seconds pick-ups, so that I would not be flat for the race on Saturday. They felt good and I knew that I was going to feel good on race day. Like any other race, I did strides everyday. I have said it before, but doing strides is one way that I tend to feel better day in and day out.

On Friday I decided to run by myself and collect my thoughts. I thought about many things but most of the time, my mind was on the race. I tried to visualize as much as I could. I thought about what I should feel like at different parts of the race. How should I feel at 5k, 10k? By 15k I know that I should really start to push, even if I am only maintaining pace. I finished my run and did my standard 4 x 200m/30 seconds. I knew that I was going to be ready for tomorrow.

Representing the U-S-A!!!

Representing the U-S-A!!!

Saturday was the day of the big dance. I woke up and went for a light 15 minute shake out jog. Then everything was focused on getting ready for the race. The weather was almost as perfect as can be. There was slight wind, but since most of the race was in the city, the buildings would block the wind. I was excited to be running with some of the best runners in the world. I ran 1:02:20 and placed 33rd. We also placed 7th as a team.

I am going to give a full recap of the race soon in a different post (and the trip as a whole). So you will have to look for a blog later in the week, but I will give a thought about my race:

I came in with high expectations (PR, top 20, and 3rd as a team) and did not hit any of them. But by not achieving them makes me even more motivated. I know that I am capable of running sub 1:01 in the future, and that top 20 is possible, even top 15. I keep steadily improving, and that I will get other chances to run fast. Also, with the fact that American distance running is getting so much better, I know that eventually we will place top three as a team, just hopefully I can be on that team.

Splits:

5km            10km            15km            20km            Finish

14:31          28:56            43:45            59:04            1:02:20

Here are the results and some previews/recaps of the race:

IAAF Results

David Monti article

Lets Run Preview

Lets Run Review