Hay is in the Barn!

Week of Training September 21 – 27

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 12 Drills
Monday 10 6 8 x 20 sec, Drills, Core
Tuesday 13 8 x 200m, Core
Wednesday 15 Workout
Thursday 8 6 Core
Friday 13 8 x 20 sec, Drills
Saturday 13
Week Total 96

 1 WEEK TO GO!!!!

Echoing the words of the famous Bill Bowerman from Without Limits, “The hay’s in the barn.” All of what I can do training wise for Twin Cities is done. Now it is all about freshening up and getting that all important peak right.

Our first team photo of the year, including our new athetes John and Andrew! All this was at the "insistence" of Dictator Stilin.

Our first team photo of the year, including our new athletes John and Andrew!
All this was at the “insistence” of Dictator Stilin.

This week was the start of my taper. I only ran 96 miles this week, with one moderate workout. While 96 miles might seem like a lot, I have been running around 110 the last 8 weeks, so the drop is nearly 15% of my total volume. Also Pete and myself are not fans of really big tapers. I have found out from experience that when I drop my miles too quickly, I begin to get stale and sluggish, which is not the way to be feeling when headed into a race. So with this in mind, I am still going to be running around 80 miles the week of the race. Another piece of getting a taper right is not changing anything in your daily training. Mostly I mean that do not begin to either, run faster or slower on recovery days, only run less. Just by doing that, you will begin to feel fresher.

12 x 3 min, 2 min float

The lone workout for the week is the standard “Pete Rea 10 days out from the marathon” workout, 10-12 x 3 minutes, with 2 minutes float in between. The key to this workout is to stay relaxed and not over do it. With such little time before Twin Cities, there is more likely a chance to ruin the race than make it.

For the workout, Griff join Cole and me as we took a tour of Blowing Rock. We started in the Park, then headed out to the streets of Blowing Rock and wound up back in the Park. With the workout not being distance oriented, we were just running by feel. Also with the Park and surrounding areas being very hilly, our paces fluctuated. I liked that fact that we did not have specific splits to hit, as it made us run by feel. Overall, it was a good way to lead up to the Marathon.

 A Few Thoughts Heading in to the Race

1) Training was Awesome!

Our new Reebok racing kit arrived, just in time for the race! Cole and I are going to be looking fly our there!

Our new Reebok racing kit arrived, just in time for the race!
Cole and I are going to be looking fly our there!

The last 11 weeks of training has been one of the best training blocks that I have ever had. During this block, I averaged 102 miles a week, including a big down week of 76 miles. I was consistently hitting high weekly mileage, while still working out. The workouts were different than what I had done previously; mostly they were much longer than ever before. Each workout was consistently around or over 10 miles worth of work, with some real long ones, like our trip to preview the course. Even though most of the workouts were longer, I took to them like a fish to water. Workouts that place a higher emphasis on aerobic ability have always been my forte, starting with tempos at Crown Hill Park in high school. And with the marathon being a primarily an aerobic event, it was not a surprise to me that training has gone so well.

Also during this cycle, I think that I learned the most about myself as an athlete. The training took much more of a toll on my body and I was more tired than I have ever been while training. That made me much more aware of the effort I was putting in day to day, so to not over do it and crash in a workout.

Overall, doing this training has made me very excited for both Twin Cities and future marathons (which is very dependent on how the race goes). Every time I have stepped up in distance, I have run better than before. Now I can only hope that this trend holds true. It is still amazing to me that a little over two years ago, when I arrived at ZAP, I did not really think I would be running the marathon yet. But here I am, ready to toe the line in Minneapolis in less than a week.

 2) Taking Steps Towards 2016

The Olympic Creed

The Olympic Creed

Every runner’s dream is to toe the line wearing the USA jersey. While I have already had that experience, there is something much more exciting and special when done at the Olympics. The Olympics are thought to transcend everything, politics, borders, ethnicities, and even wars. During the ancient Olympics, the Greeks would stop the fighting to compete in sport! While may no longer be true, being an Olympian places you on the sporting world stage like no other single event can do. Just by making the team and being there, you are following in the footsteps of some of the greatest athletes of our time. Most of our running heroes were Olympians, Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Billy Mills, and Bob Kennedy. Since I have graduated college and came to the realization that I could run professionally, making an Olympic Team seems even more attainable.

With the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trails looming in the distance, this fall was a good time to test the waters in the marathon. Running one in the fall of 2015 would be too close to the Trials to make any adjustments to training or racing, and also is assuming I would recover properly. Running one in the spring of 2015 takes away from other goals and teams to make in both cross country and track. But there is a team to be made in the marathon for the 2015 World Championships, with one of threes spots coming from Twin Cities.

Another big reason to run a marathon this fall is that Pete and I will have time to adjust any training and/or racing strategy according to how Twin Cities goes, giving me the best shot to make the Olympic Team in 2016. The year and a half until the Trials is a long time for both the good and bad to pop up, but anything I do now will affect me far into the future.

 3) Extra Nerves!

Coming into the race, just like any other, I am nervous, especially considering it is my debut. Unlike any other race I have run, I have never run 26 miles at one time, or even in one day. The farthest I have run is the 23 mile long run we did during our course preview. Every other race I have done, I have run that distance before. The nerves come not from the idea that I will be unable to finish the race, but that I will hit the proverbial wall.

Before we won Nationals in 2011, one of our coaches at Western gave us this card. The date may change, but always ThinkBIG!

Before we won Nationals in 2011, one of our coaches at Western gave us this card. The date may change, but always ThinkBIG!

One thing that Pete has said many times during this cycle is, “You do not have to fear the marathon, but do respect it.” Running fearful of the distance will most likely lead to disaster, as you will begin to question yourself. But by respecting the marathon, it becomes just like any other race. The best example of this is during the London Marathon when Tirunesh Dibaba, who was making her marathon debut, dropped her water bottle late in the race. Rather than just leaving it and getting water from a water station, she stopped and picked up the bottle. This cost her some ground on the two leaders and from then on she was running in no woman’s land. The authors at LetsRun played the “what if” card by saying she might have lost the race because of it. Their logic is that a veteran marathoner would have just left the bottle and continued running with the leaders, while the rookie, Dibaba being fearful of the marathon, stopped and picked it up.

Even thought I am a rookie, and the latter stages will be tough and trying, I know that the “Trial of Miles” Cole and I have been through the last 10 weeks will have prepared me as best as possible and there is not much that I can do to get in better shape. Now most of how I do is dependent on me. I take solace knowing that how much I am willing to put into the race will be a big determining factor in the outcome. I will finish off with what Coach Vandenbusche used to say right before Nationals, “I want the Big Red Machine is oiled, greased, and ready to roll!”


 Important Info!

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon starts at 8am CT on October 5. For anyone who would like to follow Cole and my race there are multiple ways:

  1. First you can visit here to sign up for text updates. It is pretty simple. On the first page, enter your phone number, then on the second search for “Pennel” and add me. Next you will get a text asking you to respond with “RACE.” After that you are done! Also you only have three runners so choose wisely, and I can see who is following me, so I will know who is not! (And I may or may not hold it against you.) As with all of these types of text updates, “All message and data rates apply.”
  2. If texting is not your gig, you can follow the race online here. It will show my progress through out the race, along with predicted times for splits and my finish!
  3. If you want to actually see me, there will be a camera trained on the finish line. So you can watch a still screen for 2:12 hours until I cross, by all means go for it. It might be as exciting as paint dry!
  4. If watching paint dry is not your favorite activity (I wouldn’t know why?!), but you would still like to see my beautiful face, there will be a live feed from USATV.tv! Starting at 9am EST (8 CT and 7 MST) you can watch the race unfold.
  5. If watching on a computer screen is too impersonal for, and you are feeling really adventurous, come watch live!
  6. Finally, if for whatever reason that you were not able to follow the race live (Like there is a good excuse, as Coach Vandenbusche used to say, “Pardon my French. Excuses are like assholes, everyone has them, and they stink!”), updates and the results will be posted here (but there is not a nifty little map to see my progress).

Some of these links are just preliminary, so follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook to get updates with more specific links as the race draws near!

Training Log 9/14-20

Week of Training September 14 – 20

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 8
Monday 12 6 8 x 20 sec, Drills
Tuesday 15 8 x 20 sec, Drills
Wednesday 9 6
Thursday 11 6 8 x 30 sec, Drills
Friday 20 Long Run
Saturday 8 6
Week Total 107

2 weeks to go!

During this week, I was quite tired. I was sleeping more and on most of the runs I did not really feel like running fast. But one thing that I have gotten much better at over the last few years is listening to my body and actually running how it feels. I learned the hard way during my first few years of college what happens when you try to push through these signs. I had many injuries from overuse and overtraining. I would push the limits of my body, but when I was nearing the red line, I would ignore those signs and keep pushing. Now, I still push the limits, but I am much better at recognizing those signs and pulling back to recover. This is one of the main reasons that I think I have been mostly injury free the last three and a half years. Besides a month long break after my last year of school, I have only had one injury that lasted more than a few days, and it only lasted two weeks. The benefit to being healthy is that I have had some pretty big break through performances, and they have come much more often than before.

The first few days of the week were spent recovering from the workout on Saturday and just getting the miles in. Neither Cole nor myself had great workouts, so it was good to take a few days and regroup both mentally and physically. Unfortunately during this time, I felt very tried. Being tired day after day is hard to deal with as I usually only have one or two tired days in a row, but with so many stacked together, I was ready for a change. It was only when I looked back at my training, I realized that the last two weeks were some of the best and biggest training weeks I have ever had. Most likely it was the work I did those last two weeks which was making me tired. Now I just need to focus on resting and preparing for Twin Cities.

Friday was the only really hard day of the week. It was our last long run of the marathon training block. We met Pete at the Park, and as we have done for many of our long runs, he drove and dropped us off a ways up the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there we ran back to the Park where we had a workout. Pete wanted us to a 1200m on the Lake, float the 300m to the start and then do a Hill Cycle. Everything was continuous, so we were working on aerobic capacity, but we were not to run too fast. Pete told us that we should envision the effort of middle of the marathon

5 x 1200m; 300m float; Hill Cycle Splits:
3:52, 3:41; 3:52, 3:41; 3:50, 3:40; 3:45, 3:38; 3:53, 3:37

After the workout, we headed to the “mean” streets of Blowing Rock to finish up the last 25 minutes of our run at a good sustained pace. We finished around 5:00 minute pace, which was a good sign heading into the marathon.

On Saturday, ZAP hosted the annual Stick Boy Mayview Madness 5km. We had been prepping for the race earlier in the week, and now we got to help put it on. It is always an eye opener to see what happens behind the scene in a race, and with only around 350 registrants, I cannot imagine how much work is put in to a major marathon like New York or Chicago. There has to be a small army of people to help organize and put on such an event.

Twin Cities Course Preview

Week of Training September 7 – 13

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 13 Drills and Strides
Monday 10 5 Drills, Core
Tuesday 23 Long Run/Workout
Wednesday 8 6
Thursday 13 6 Drills
Friday 12 8 x 20 sec, Drills, Core
Saturday 17 Workout
Week Total 113 miles

3 weeks to go!

The week started off with Cole and I traveling to the Twin Cities for a course preview/long run. On Sunday morning we did a relaxed 13 miles in the Park followed by drills and strides. Then in the evening, we hopped on a plane bound for Minnesota. A few months prior, Cole had floated the idea to Pete, and it made sense to get a feel of the course before racing it.

On Monday, Cole and I ran out and back on the last few miles of the course before having a lazy day around the hotel. I ended up walking to the Minnesota State Capital Building and looking at the monuments to political and cultural leaders of Minnesota, along with memorials for World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Wars. My favorite was a statue honoring Charles Lindbergh that had some inspiring quotes engraved into the path. There were also monuments dedicated to Herbert Humphrey, Minnesota Senator and Vice President to LBJ, and Roy Wilkins, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.

Great talk with the folks from Savage, Minnesota!

Great talk with the folks from Savage, Minnesota!

Later that afternoon, Cole and I headed to Savage, Minnesota (How awesome is the name “Savage”) to have a Q and A with a group run lead by fellow Reebok athlete, Katie McGregor. It is always fun to talk to other runners who are just as dedicated to running, but are not able to do it for a living. They seemed very excited to talk with us and hang out for a bit before their run. Also it was really great to see Katie again, as we all became friends when she spent last summer training at ZAP.

Tuesday morning was an early one. We wanted to try and avoid as much traffic as possible. (They wouldn’t close the streets down for us, figure that!) At 6 am we met two members of Team USA Minnesota, Eric Finan and Jon Peterson, at the 4 mile mark on the course to start our run. They ended up being our tour guides for the first 6 miles of the course before they turned off. They had raced a few days prior, so they were not so keen on working out with us.

6 miles at normal pace; 5 miles at a tad slower than marathon pace (~5:10);
1 mile float (45-50 sec slower); 4 miles at marathon pace (~5:05);
1 mile float; 3 miles at tad faster than marathon pace (~5:00); 1 mile float;
1 mile faster than marathon pace (~4:50)

At the 10 mile mark, we met up with Katie and she hopped in our support car driven by Ryan. From there it was all about our workout. Cole and I started out just a bit fast, but we settled to the paces we were supposed to run, for me that only lasted a mile as I picked it up for the last three miles. Even though I was running faster than what I was prescribed, I felt very comfortable, so I went with it. I was a bit surprised by how easy it was to run around marathon pace. This gave me some confidence for the rest of the workout.

"The accumulation of knowledge, the discoveries of science, the products of technology, our ideas, our art, our social structures, all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life." - Charles Lindbergh

“The accumulation of knowledge, the discoveries of science, the products of technology, our ideas, our art, our social structures, all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life.”
– Charles Lindbergh

The 4 mile section went off with out a hitch, but I knew that coming up was the hardest part of the course. From miles 20-23 there is a steady climb of nearly 200 feet. While a hill like this would not be a problem if it came early in the race, since it comes in the later stages, it can make or break the race. I charged up the hills, not really slowing down from my previous pace. I felt good and did not really feel the effects of the hills until the end of the second mile (of three). When I crested the summit, I picked the pace up for the last half mile. I finished the last of the workout well, and had a mile cool down.

Looking back, I am very happy with my effort on Tuesday. I think that it shows that I should be able to run a very good marathon in a month’s time. I feel that I did not get too beat up running 16 miles at nearly marathon pace, all within my longest run ever. Also I know that I will be much more even and relaxed when racing in a pack. I tend to run well when I am able to just relax and let the race unfold, then just race the last half. I have done this in both my 10,000m and Half Marathon debuts.

I am glad that we went and ran the course. I now have a few things to keep in mind when I race the course in three weeks, places where I should push and places where I should relax. I think that making the trek out there was very insightful, and I will benefit in a months time when I get to race it.

One more thing, I would like to thank Eric and Jon for getting up bright and early to met Cole and me. Without them helping show us the course, I am sure we would have gotten lost. Also I would like to thank Katie. First for inviting us to talk with her group on Monday evening and then getting up and helping Ryan be our support.

5:04, 5:13, 5:00, 4:57, 5:00 (25:14),5:45;
4:53, 5:00, 4:55, 4:50 (19:38), 5:40;
4:59, 4:53, 4:57 (14:49); 5:38; (Up the hills!)
23 miles; 2:11:19 hr. (Hopefully that will be my debut time!);
5:46 avg.5:06 avg. for the 16 workout miles

We had a camp this weekend, so the next few days were spent with some easy running and preparing the ZAP campus. We were cleaning the lodge, making beds, and mowing the lawn. While it is always busy and tiring to get ready for and host a camp, it is only for a few months a year.

7/7 x 1000m, 2 min rest, 3:30 min between sets

The camp that we hosted this weekend was one of our marathon prep camps, so that meant a trip out to the Virginia Creeper Trail. Once again, Pete had scheduled a workout for Cole and me. We had 14 1000 meter repeats, split into two sets of seven (the most I have ever done!). Unfortunately, I did not feel fantastic. My legs were still quite tired from the big long run a few days prior. I thought that I had recovered, as the easy runs in between had felt very good, but when I tried to run faster, the pace was harder than it should have been.

So after a few reps, I decided to not focus on hitting splits and just run the workout by feel. I still kept my split for each rep, but I was not looking at the splits for the intermediate distances (200m, 400m, etc). One think that is apparent when looking at the splits is how even I was, consistently running within a second each rep. During this I was focusing on keeping my stride rate high and my stride low. One of the things that I have been working on for the last year or so is to lessen the amount of bounce that I have in my stride. If I can lower the amount of energy that I use pushing myself up, I can then transfer it to propel myself forward. I try to think of it like the Roadrunner from the Wile E. Coyote cartoons. His legs just move in a circle and all his energy is used to move forward, no wonder he is always able to out run poor old Wile! Eventually I found a good rhythm and the rest of the workout went by pretty quick.

3:02, 3:04, 3:03, 2:57, 3:02, 2:57, 3:00;
2:57, 3:01, 2:57, 3:01, 2:55, 3:00, 2:55

Even though I felt tired and sluggish from the beginning, I think that I was able to still get a solid workout in. I did not hit the workout out of the park, that cannot happen every time, but I think it ended up being at least a single. To keep with the baseball analogy, with three singles in a row the bases are loaded and ready for a grand slam, which is the best possible outcome for a race. As long as I keep hitting singles and doubles now, I know that I will be able to hit that home runs and grand slams when it counts.

Here is another video of Cole and me doing a workout as we prep for Twin Cities! It was the hill cycle workout from a week ago.

Training Log 8/30-9/6

Week of Training August 30 – September 6

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 21 Race/Workout, Long Run
Monday 8 6
Tuesday 12 6 8 x 20 sec, Drills, Core
Wednesday 15 8 x 20 sec, Drills
Thursday 12 6 Core
Friday 15 Workout
Saturday 11 6
Week Total 118


4 Weeks to Go!

This week started off with a race, but since I covered that last week I will not beat a dead horse. But if you missed my recap of the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, and just cannot go on your day without my drabble, you can read it here.

Thanks to Reebok for giving me a free pair of customized shoes! Looks like I have a new travel shoe!

Thanks to Reebok for giving me a free pair of customized shoes! Looks like I have a new travel shoe!

After the race/workout on Sunday, Pete had me take quite a few days of just aerobic running. Monday was my traditional post long run day of a split 8 and 6 miles. I was pretty tired from the previous day, so ran slow and relaxed. Since I have been in marathon training, I have noticed that it takes longer and longer to recover between workouts. Most of this is due to the fact that the workouts have been longer than anything I have ever done before. By Tuesday, I felt better, and Wednesday pretty much back to feeling normal. But I will say that “feeling normal” while training so much can still be described as exhausted. After a while I have just tended to get used to it, especially when I know that with a taper I will feel even better. If being tired now results in a good race on October 5th, then it is a reasonable price to pay.

1500, 2 min rest; 3.5 hill cycles, 3 min rest;
1500, 2 min rest; 3.5 hill cycles, 3 min rest
1500, 2 min rest; 2.5 hill cycles

This workout is a good workout with the pairing of a fast 1500m and an aerobic effort of the hill cycles. The 1500m reps are used to put some junk in the legs, so that you are more tired running the hill cycles. Also, the hill cycles require you to work on surging both uphill and when tired. Both of these are things that I will need for Twin Cites, and racing in general.

What is a hill cycle?
A hill cycle is a loop that has around 400m of flat, 400m of up hill, and 400m of downhill. Each section does not have be exact, our loop is somewhere in between 1050-1100 meters. Usually a hill cycle workout is comprised of 25-15-5 min efforts, with the flat at tempo effort, 3 surges up the hill, and relaxing/active recovery on the downhill. But it can be paired with other pieces like Pete had me do on Friday.


Even with four days between Sunday’s effort and Friday’s workout, I still felt pretty tired. Eventually I did warm up, but the first 1500m felt fast. I was a relief to slow down to marathon pace for the hill cycles, even if I was running longer. Over the last few weeks, I have gotten very good at running marathon pace, as it is what I have been practicing the most. The rest of the workout pretty much went the same. The 1500m pieces felt fast and hill cycles were more relaxed, but it only got harder to maintain pace.

4:30; 3:29, 3:23, 3:25, 2:31
4:25; 3:27, 3:25, 3:25, 2:30
4:22; 3:24, 3:26, 2:29

Looking back at the workout and the splits, I saw that I was very consistent, which is good. Every set it got harder to run the same pace, especially up the hills. A combination of the surges and the 1500m pieces were taking a toll on my legs, but this is the purpose of each. Overall I am happy about the workout, especially with the fact that the tempo/marathon pace on each hill cycle felt very relaxed and comfortable. It will give me confidence heading into next week as Cole and I head out to the Twin Cities for a course preview/long run on Tuesday.

Training Log 8/24-30

Week of Training August 24-30

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 13 Fartlek
Monday 9
Tuesday 10
Wednesday 0 Off Day
Thursday 14 5 10 x 200m, Drills
Friday 10 5
Saturday 10 Drills and Strides
Week Total 76

 5 weeks to go!

This was a big down week after four weeks around 110. While a down week sounds awesome, it usually is the exact opposite. This is the biggest irony of a down week. Most down weeks I am really tired as all the work from the last couple of weeks sets in. It is not until the following week do I get the benefit of the down week. Typically this starts on the Sunday of the next week, when I have a fantastic long run or a good race.

Another thing that I tend to do on a down week is actually be even more lazy than usual. Often my day off will consist of me marathon watching whatever show I am currently hooked on. This comes from a view that I am all in or not at all. Since my goal for a day off is to rest, I do it all the way. This is also true for training as well, and is something that I have to temper at times, so I do not over train.

Sunday morning started off with a light Fartlek of 4 x 90, 45, 30 seconds with no set rest. Pete says to be playful, (Fartlek is a Swedish word for “Speed Play”), but I have to set my watch so I do not go too long between reps. After 40 minutes, I started the workout with a rep starting every four minutes. I usually like workouts that have a set distance, because it allows me to get instant feedback on how fast (or slow) I am running, but it is always nice to go out and just run by effort. I feel that it is somewhat of a lost art. As a society, and runners in especially, we are obsessed with time. Much of ourselves is invested in how long it takes us to do something or how fast we run (PRs), both usually being the shorter amount of time the better. Going out and running a workout without worrying about how pace can be liberating. It often makes running much more enjoyable.

After Sunday, the next few days were all about getting rested and recovered. The first few weeks of the marathon cycle went very well, but even then it is good to take a step back and relax. During these days, both Cole and I ran relaxed without worrying about pace, just getting the miles in. I ran only 19 miles in THREE days, which was a big drop from usually doing that in ONE day.

Thursday we headed out to Watauga River Road for a medium long run with some 200s after. Watauga River Road is probably my favorite place to run, and with six of us cruising along, it was that much better. This was possibly the first run in a long time that we had a large group running together. Over the last few weeks, most of my runs have been Cole and myself, but now that most everyone is back from break, the team atmosphere is returning. To finish the run, Cole and I had 10 x 200m along the bike path. We were given instructions to run them about 5000m rhythm (~32 seconds). The first few were right there and we only got faster as we went along. It was pleasant to know that I had a felt pretty relaxed running fast and my legs were not too tired.

The Cape Henry Trail at First Landing State Park. It was a great place to run!

The Cape Henry Trail at First Landing State Park. It was a great place to run!

On Friday, Cole and I drove the 6 hours to Virginia Beach. The drive was long and really made my legs tight and sluggish, so that afternoon’s run was not the most pleasant. But on Saturday, we ran at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. It was an awesome place to run. There were lots of shaded, dirt trails, including a big trail running through the center of the park, with single tracks jutting off into the marsh. But even with the shade, it was hot, humid, and muggy, only a preview of what it would be like the next day.


Even though I raced/workout on Sunday, I will give a recap a week early while it is fresh in my mind. The goal for the day was to have a “Marathon Simulation” effort. This means that Pete wanted me to run the first 10 miles at marathon pace, then snowball the last three. I know that it can often be hard to do this in a race type setting, so in order to complete the workout properly, I had to keep telling myself that it was a workout. This is one of my coping mechanisms for training. If I do not do this, I will run way to hard in my workouts. Having run for 10 years, I know how a race and workout are supposed to feel. Only by separating the two can I run each correctly, and have big performances in the races. One small trick that I do this is to not wear a watch during a race. This is due to the idea that I will have one less thing to worry about during the race, and also that I am there to race, so time should not really matter.

On Sunday, I was up and moving around at 4:30am, as the race started at 7am. I need plenty of time to wake my body up before the gun goes off. Before the race start, I did a four mile warm up, and was plenty sweaty when the gun went off. The temperature at the start was around 80º and nearly 100% humidity, so the race was going to be tough.

The race started and 6 guys immediately went to the front. Since I was on strict orders to not go out too fast, I did not go with them. My first mile was a tad quick (5:01), but it was not fast enough to ruin the workout. When looked at my first split, I took the pace back a notch and found a good rhythm at 5:02-05 pace. For the next few miles I was able to cruise along. From the start I noticed that I was not feeling the great, but each successive mile was not getting any worse, so I just kept going. Around mile 6 I began to start catching the guys who were falling off of the lead pack, and unconsciously I began to pick it up. For the next few miles I would go through a cycle of speeding up while catching guys, then backing off when I realized I had sped up. During this time I tried to envision myself in the middle of the marathon, relaxing and not straining to run that pace.

Prerace strides! Already soaked. Photo Credit: PhotoRun

Prerace strides! I am already soaked!
Photo Credit: PhotoRun

At mile 10, I felt relatively the same as I had the entire race; the only difference is that the heat, humidity, and a few sub 5 miles began to take their toll. Also my hip began to tighten up, and I could noticeably feel myself slowing down. This was disappointing, and I just let it happen, as I did not want to cross that line from a workout to a race. I passed mile 11, saw my split and realized that I only had slowed down by 5 seconds. This gave me a boost of confidence that allowed me to pick it from there. Also around this time my hip began to open up and I kept motoring to the finish. There were still two more guys to catch before I was in second, so I made a goal to try and get them. I passed the first guy with a mile and half to go, and the second guy with only 1km left. I ended up in second, only 40 seconds behind the winner who had just run a 2:10 marathon 8 weeks prior, while doing a workout, albeit a hard one. (Also congrats to Jeff for the win!)

If the race was not enough, Pete had a short 5 x 2 min, with 1 min rest for me to do afterwards. After 13 minutes of rest, which was mostly spent trying to work my way through the finishing chute, I found my way to Atlantic Ave. The street was still closed from the race even though everyone had passed by, so I had the entire road to myself. I gradually worked into the reps, and by the end I felt that I was running a good pace. After all was said and done, I ran 21 miles for the day, good enough for a great long run.

While I had let a bit of my racing instincts take over the last two miles, I finished and felt that I had run the workout properly. I think that even in those tough conditions I could have gone a few miles farther, especially if I had kept the rhythm around 5:05 pace. This is encouraging because I know that the temperature in Minnesota will most likely not be hot and/or humid, and I will have 5 more weeks of training in my legs.

Mile 1 - 5:01
Mile 2 - 5:05
Mile 3 - 5:07
Mile 4 - 5:03
Mile 5 - 5:02 (25:19)
Mile 6 - 5:00
Mile 7 - 4:57
Mile 8 - 5:05
Mile 9 - 4:59
Mile 10 - 5:05 (50:25)
Mile 11 - 5:10
Mile 12 - 5:07
Mile 13 - 4:57 (5:27 last 1.1 miles)
Total - 66:08
13 min rest; 5 x 2 min, 1 min rest

Before I finish, I would like to thank the people at Rock ‘n’ Roll series for putting on a great race. I was honored to be included in their Invited Field. Hopefully in the future I can run some more races in their series. If you like to race in an awesome atmosphere, great course, and bands every mile, I would tell you to consider running a Rock ‘n’ Roll event.


Prerace Interview
Postrace Coverage
Race Pictures