Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The flat 20

So, my next (and last) 20 miler before the marathon was on Saturday.  I had originally planned on Sunday, but the schedule changed, and an opportunity presented itself.

My goal was to run 16 miles slow, and then 4 at marathon pace.  Here's the conundrum that I face (as do all first timers): What the hell is my marathon pace?

I'll not hide it, I'd love a 4 hour marathon.  That's a 9:09/mile pace.  OK, let's use that as a starting point.

I took a route that was flat.. It's actually an old railroad track that was ripped up, paved, and used as a community walking/running/biking/etc path.  It's a 4 mile lap.  Sigh.  5 trips on this.  It works on the mental toughening as well.

The good thing about this was that I could park my car at one end, keep all of my water, Gu, etc in it, and not have to carry much. That's a win.

I also decided to try Gu'ing every 4 miles instead of every 5.  This is the time and place to try it.  I also brought 2 salt packets, to see if they would help with the cramping I experienced last time..

So, the weather was hot, and I was slightly under the weather due to some random cold that mini-Raul brought into the house.  OK, let's go anyway.

Lap 1.  Splits: 9:52, 9:45, 9:59, 9:41.  (The 3rd one has a walk break included in it, as scheduled)
Lap 2.  Splits: 9:55, 9:47, 10:06, 9:43 (Walk break executed here as well)
Lap 3.  Splits: 9:46, 9:49, 10:12, 9:40 (Walk break is getting longer, but not bad)
Lap 4.  Splits: 9:42, 9:38, 10:14, 9:53

Between each lap, I had a half liter of water, and a Gu.

OK.  That's pretty consistent.  9:40ish to 9:50ish.  I was cranking these out with no problem.  This is a 4:15 marathon, provided it could be maintained for another 10 miles.

I turned up the gas.

8:41.  Solid.
9:29.  Yeah, you can see where this is going.
12:01.  The wheels are coming off.
8:15.  Huh?  Oh, right. I actually only ran a half mile for this.  The wheels were off, flat, and long gone.  Crash and burn, baby.

Pace chart here:

I shuffled back to the car.  It actually took me 10-15 minutes to let the agony subside enough that I could drive.  Somehow, I managed to make it home and cook dinner.  I put on a pretty good act, because I never heard a word about how I looked.  (And let's not tell Mrs. Raul about this, shall we..?  I'll never hear the end of it)

After I ate, I felt a shit-ton better.  Excuse my TMI, but, my urine was very dark.  I was probably dehydrated, and potentially low on electrolytes. (Given that I was covered with salt at this point, it's not out of the question).

The next day I felt fine.  Muscles were sore, but I had no pain.  Next day was good.  Today, I ran a fairly brisk 4 miles.

So, I'm at a decision point.  I'm thinking I should scrap the 4 hour marathon plan.  My half was a 1:52.  The weather will be cooler.  However, I haven't had a long long run that has gone extremely well.

There's a pace group for the marathon at 4:00, 4:10, and 4:25.  (What, no '4:20' pace? j/k)

4:10 is a 9:33 mile, 4:25 is a 10:07 mile.

Do I scrap the pace groups, and settle in for a 4:15 pace?  I have absolutely no idea.

Keep on rockin'.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The carousel run

So.. my first 20 miler.  I wanted it to be memorable.  It was, for a number of reasons.

Our area has 6 carousels in it, scattered among 3 towns.   I spent my time mapping out a route from Casa Raul, and seeing if I could hit all of them..  Indeed I could, but I needed the help of Mrs. Raul to pick me up at the end.  (Doubling back home would make it a marathon, as an interesting data point).

The downside of this route was that it was hilly.

In addition, if you collect a ticket from each carousel throughout the season, you can get a button saying that you rode the carousel circuit.  Well, damn! I'm going to run the circuit!

I decided to run with a Camelbak, something I haven't done in a long time. However, it was hot, and it seemed like the right play.

Armed with my trusty cell phone, off I went..

Stop #1!  This was about 7 miles in, and after a sizable hill.  I'm sure the parents at all of these carousels were thrilled to have a stinky & sweaty man join their children riding around.  (What, you didn't think I *wasn't* going to ride, did you?)

Stop #2.. This is about 9-10 miles in.  I was a bit upset here.. I had gotten to the carousel, waiting in line, and the damn thing broke down.  WTF?  I took a ticket anyway. I was there.

This is Stop #3, about 12 miles into the journey.  This one is by far the hottest one on the circuit.  They certainly need to work on the ventilation.  It's fun in the winter, because they open it up on Saturday nights and do a Christmas & Santa gig.

There was a big freaking hill between stop 3 and 4.  The hill hit just after 15 miles.  I felt my calves start to twitch pretty seriously, so I started mixing in some walking.

It was laborious, but I made it to stop #4

Yeah, you can tell at this point that I no longer gave a shit what the picture looked like.  I think this was mile 17.   They sell water at this joint, so parted with a couple of bucks and loaded up some more.

Stop #5 doesn't have a picture.  I was just becoming a zombie.  A lot of walking mixed in, just moving along.

I hit 20 miles about 1 mile out from my destination.  I walked it from here.

The end.  The glorious end.

So, I stopped here, and I sat down on the ground to stretch.  One of those calves decided to cramp up at this point, and I was flopping around on the ground, just trying to find some position that was somewhat tolerable.

Predictably, this is the point when Mrs. Raul drove in to pick me up.  She read me the riot act about us not being athletes, etc etc.  Sigh.

After 5 minutes of sheer agony, I was able to stand.  We rode the last carousel together, and I got my button:

So, I had run with a Camelbak, I ran on a hot day, and I ran some hills, with a lot of stopping to ride.  A list of excuses, but valid ones, at least.

Truthfully, the next day I felt good.  Not "I want to do it again" good, but pretty reasonable.  I felt better than after the 18 miler.

My training schedule allowed me to either do 3 20 milers on short rest, or 2 on longer rest with a 4 week taper.  I opted for the latter.

I also opted for making my second/last 20 miler roughly like the terrain of the course... (read: flat).  That will be the topic of my next post...

Keep on rockin!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hiatus is over

Yeah, I took a blogging hiatus.  A lot has happened this summer. What's up with that, though, summer being over?  Disappointing.

So, I have a 3 part return to blogging.  Here's part one..

After my triathlon, I spent a couple of weeks in a bit of a lull.. not as much exercising, a little more eating.  I did some reflecting on the year.  I looked at my 2012 resolutions, and I realized I hit them all at the end of June.  Solid.  No matter what happens the rest of the year, I can only call 2012 a success.

Mrs. Raul and I took a mini vacay for our wedding anniversary.. Came into town the week after a big race.... lets say it's a potential future destination, and perhaps I can sell it as a race-vacation.. First thing is to get through that marathon at the end of September.

So, what else?  A couple of fun sporting events:

AAA All-Star game, up in Buffalo.  What a blast.  Every ticket in the stadium was $25.  That's pretty damn reasonable.  The stadium was great, and the crew I went with was awesome.  Combine that with staying with friends, and it was a sweet setup.  Got to see Tom Terrific throw to Ryno for the first pitch, as well.  A couple of hall of famers, still doing their thing.

I also rolled to Cortland, NY one day to watch my beloved NY Jets have their training camp.  It was awesome being this close to the NFL players.  The big takeaway I have from that is, "Holy shit, those guys are huge!".  Even the wide receivers are just big guys.
(The other takeaway I have is that it's going to be a really really long NFL season this year.  Sigh.)

Training-wise, I kept a solid 3 run a week schedule, with one being a long one.  For my 18 miler, I wound up running to my brother in law's house.. I was going to be crafty and text a picture of the outside to him, but they had left on some errands and already seen me.  Sigh.  So much for the element of surprise.

I did catch up with them at the halfway point, which was a nice and welcome break.  The route was moderately hilly, and by mile 15 or 16, it was starting to suck pretty bad.  My hip flexors were pretty tight, and I was just glad to make it home and have it be over.

After about 24 hours, everything felt pretty good.  All in all, I was happy with the outing.

Of course, on a 18 mile jaunt, your mind just goes all kinds of crazy places.. that's where I plotted out my first 20 mile run.....  to be continued.

Keep on rockin!