Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 Chi Town Half Marathon Results Are In!

WARNING! This post is primarily about bragging on my own accomplishments.  Today I woke up and felt good except for the fact that I set my alarm for an hour too early.  I woke up at 4:45am, once I realized it I slept for another 40 minutes but my body was ready to get up around 5:35am.  I had packed my bag and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before so I didn't really have anything to worry about there.  I filled up a water bottle which I forgot to take with me.  Thanks to Patrick Morris for driving at Ferrari speeds to get us down to the race with plenty of time to spare even after a potty break.  My usual self, the no-goer in public, sat and waited in the car.  I ran a few paces to warm up for the race and with about 5 minutes until gun-time, I jumped in line with the 9:55 pacer.  She was cool, I didn't get her name.  This was a strategic move since my PR was a 9:56 pace.  I figured I would stick with her until about half way through, and if I felt good the plan was to move on ahead and pick up my pace for the second half.  The pacer's first mile was about 9:44 and I felt I had more in me. I picked up my pace a little bit and continued from there.

What makes the splits interesting, is that I believe the Nike+ SportWatch pauses the run when you lose satellite signal while in an underpass or tunnel.  There were a few along this course so I think the splits might be a bit off, otherwise, a rather amazing fun for me!

My official time is 2h 2m 37s.  My previous half-marathon was 2h 10m 15s.  I said yesterday my A race would be 2:05:00.  Well, suck that 2:05!  I beat that by over 2 minutes!

The race course consisted of a lake shore path which weaved through a marina, beach, busy streets, etc.  All Community Events did a great job for this race.  There were a few bands playing during the course (which was nice since I forgot headphones).  I clapped for them during the run and they all acknowledged it.  The head nod and saxophone shake was the best.  I knew the entire race that I was headed for a PR, which made me crazy when during mile 9 my stomach churned like I've never experienced before.  Come on!  I've run much farther than this without any issues, why now!  I didn't let it stop me.  Perhaps I would have been in the 2:01 range if mile 9 and 11 hadn't been at the paces they were.

4 of us went down to Lincoln Park for this race, and 3 of us set PRs!  Eric and Patrick set PRs in the half-marathon.  Dani ran the 10k but with a volunteer mishap ended up causing the course to be 1.1 miles short.  All Community Events really stepped up to the plate to try and make the best of the situation.  All 10k runners will be offered a refund for the race entry fee and a $10 coupon for their next race through  ACE!  Perhaps the race directors acknowledgement of the mishap and taking ownership of the mistake was the best part.  As a fairly new runner, and even newer to the racing scene, I know these events wouldn't happen without volunteers.  Mistakes happen.  For anyone who ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in 2012, knows some race directors don't even acknowledge anything went wrong.

After seeing the 2:05:28 on the gun clock and posing for my finish line photo, I gladly picked up my medal from a volunteer handing them out.  Just waiting for photos to be posted once they're tagged with bib numbers.  That's a lot of work, glad it's not me doing it.  Marathon Goal Time: 4:32:00

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chi Town Half Marathon Pre-race Banter

Well, here's a race that I signed up for sort of on a whim back in January.  I signed up for this to keep my training honest and make sure I kept up my training for Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in April.  Having this to look forward to would hopefully keep me from procrastinating.  I'll also be using this half-marathon to dial in on goal pace for the full marathon.  Whatever my pace is for this race, I'll be setting my goal at 20 seconds slower per mile for the full marathon.  Here is some of the reasoning for that:

  1. They're calling for snow tomorrow morning
  2. Better temperature in April than in March
  3. Marathon pace should be slower than half-marathon pace
A really successful day would be running under 2:05:00, mildly successful will yield 2:08:00.  My last goal for the day will be to set a PR.  Since I've only run one half-marathon, it's 2:10:15 I'll be trying to beat.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'll take a #1, A Shifty McShifterton on the Long Runs

Holy long runs.  I've already posted regarding my 16 mile run, now I'm gearing up for 18.  I'm possibly expecting this to be no only the longest distance I've ever run, but also the longest time.  Last year I "ran" 15 miles and it took nearly just 2 hours 50 minutes.  My 16 miler took just 2 hours and 37 minutes last week...surely I won't be able to do 18 in just 13 minutes more.  I'm not trying to be negative, instead, realistic.  I'm shifting my runs around.  I should be running as follows according to my plan:
  • Mar 16 - 17 Miles
  • Mar 23 - 19 Miles
  • Mar 30 - 20 Miles
However, I signed up for the Chi-town Half Marathon and that's on March 24th.  There's no way I could follow a 19 mile run with a half-marathon race so I opted for shifting my schedule around...
  • Mar 16 - 18 Miles (Splitting the difference between the 16th and 23rd)
  • Mar 24 - 13.1 Chi-town Half Marathon
  • Mar 30 - 20 Miles
I have to be honest that I'm really wondering if not going 19 miles at some point before doing 20 is a good idea, but a recent conversation on FaceBook has me feeling good about it.  Instead I feel like lowering my mileage prior to the longest distance I'll run before the full marathon is probably a good idea.  We taper after the 20 before 26.2.  Same logic.  I'm good with it.

Looking further out in the schedule, October is the Chicago Marathon which I will start training for exactly one month after the Illinois Marathon.  Meanwhile, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge registration is less than a month away.

Throughout my training, I've been looking forward to the next color level (trivial, I know) from +Nike. Well, I've made it to the blue level.  I've hit 1,000km or 621.367 miles.  the mileage doesn't seem like much of a milestone, but the KM does!  930 miles left until the purple level, expect that about a year or so from now.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pro Compression and DPR

Well this has certainly been an interesting week. I started my week out with just over 5 miles at 9:47/mile on Tuesday and 5.33 miles on Thursday at 9:51/mile. I wonder somewhat why my pacing is about the same regardless of the distance. I understand that recovery runs should be a bit easier, but I'm wondering if that means lower mileage or slower pace, perhaps both?

Previously my longest run was 15.1 miles. Several things went wrong during that run. I wasn't prepared. I ran the first 11 miles at a great pace but then quickly fell back to 12+minute miles. I had no water, gatorade or energy packets with me. To be honest I never knew what Gu, Cliff shots, etc were at the time. I also ran it alone. Well now I've kicked that distance to the curb, did a lot of things correctly during my run today. Yep, my run was a total of 16 miles! I couldn't believe it! It took 2 hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds. Calculating the pace it ends up around 9:51/mile. My previous half-marathon PR pace of 9:56 was kicked to the curb today!  I'm not sure what the heat map is all about but I ran a fairly consistent pace.

Mile Splits
Mile 1: 8:53 (oops!)
Mile 2: 9:32 (that's more like it)
Mile 3: 9:30
Mile 4: 9:12
Mile 5: 9:06
Mile 6: 9:15
Mile 7: 9:39
Mile 8: 9:42
Mile 9: 10:02
Mile 10: 10:22
Mile 11: 10:20
Mile 12: 10:37
Mile 13: 10:05
Mile 14: 10:38
Mile 15: 10:11
Mile 16: 10:26

I've learned a lot about recovering from the long-run.  Today I drank a gatorade recovery shake about 20 minutes after my run and threw on some compression socks.  These two things really seemed to help me.  My calves don't feel fatigued, my quads are rather sore but I think that's normal.  Foam rolling through the next few days will help that to go away.  If you have any other tips, leave them in the comments.

I purchased a pair of Pro Compression socks during this last week and they arrived yesterday.  I wore those today after my long-run.  I have a 17.5" calf and wear a size 10 shoe for most companies.  Their Small/Medium size marathon sock is the right size for me.  I also have a pair of compression socks from 2XU.  While I like the socks from Pro Compression, I prefer the 2XU socks.  It may seem petty, but Pro Compression offers more colors, and I just like neon running gear.  2XU offers bland non colors of black or white.  My issue with the PC socks are that they are too tall!  The socks would cover up through the bottom portion of my knee.  I'm 5"11 so I was a little surprised by this.  2XU comes right up to my knee which is how it should be.  I rolled them down a little bit but that makes the top of the socks, right below my knee, feel a little awkward.

Race update:

14 days until Chi-town Half Marathon
30 days until Goofy Challenge Race Registration (rumor, no detail from RunDisney)
48 days until Illinois Marathon in Champaign-Urbana
76 days until Soldier Field 10-mile
133 days until Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half-marathon #rnrchi
217 days until Chicago Marathon

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Training Update & Fuel Belt Purchase

So, It looks like I've unintentionally been on a blogging hiatus. My training has been going really well so far, so I'm really excited about what this might mean for me come marathon day.

I ran a total of 12 times during the month of February for a total of 77.15 miles.  That was a few shorter than I had planned since I had the cupid dash early in the month so that kept a long-run to 6.2 instead of the 8 or 9 I had planned.  The last long run of the month ended up being just shy of the goal of 13, with a total distance of 12.68.  This was a tough run to get through since I'm approaching my longest distance ever.

Now that I've got a 14 mile run in the books, I'm feeling better about approaching the next run at 16 miles. I've been able to hold my average pace at just under 10 minutes per mile.  I'm hoping to end my 26.2 at around 10:30 per mile.  As of today, I have 18 days until the Chi-Town Half Marathon race in downtown Chicago.  There I'm hoping to PR my first and only half marathon.  I know I'm not fit enough to run a sub 2 hour half marathon, but if I could get under 2:10 I'll be happy.

Two weeks after that, the registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Goofy Challenge supposedly opens up.  This is all around the RunDisney blogosphere and the daily morning updates from a Facebook page I follow.  I'm not all too sure where these folks get their information from, but I hope they're right!

I'm almost 50 days until I run my first marathon!  I've really started to practice for race day during my long runs.  I've finally taken the plunge and purchased my own hydration belt.  Yes, they look nerdy but I think I've chosen one that doesn't make my butt look fat ;)  Since I had completed one 15 mile run, wait, completed is an over-exaggeration.  I probably walked a good 4 miles of it.  I simply wasn't ready for it and had no fueling plan.  Lupe, the president of our running club, while on a 13 mile run a few weeks ago talked me into buying a hydration belt.  Simply put, your body can't and won't make it through double digit runs without having some sort of fueling plan.

After much deliberation and memorizing several reviews online regarding various belts from Nathan, Fuel Belt, Camelbak and several other companies, I decided on the Fuel Belt Revenge 4-Bottle Belt.  I purchased this from and since I'm a VIP member, I got it the next business day!  I couldn't wait to get out and run with it.  You can see the item available here but I'll save you the click and post their video at the end.  Here is an excerpt of the review I left.
I was nudged into purchasing a hydration belt by a member in our running club. I went on a 13 mile long-run with a few people and the topic came up in conversation since I didn't have any liquids with me. This is the belt I finally settled on. As I'm training for the Illinois Marathon this is going to be on my hips! I am training just south of the Wisconsin border so running in the cold does make the water freeze up a bit. I ran 14 miles last weekend and this belt was great! I plan on filling 2 with Gatorade and 2 with water on the next 16 mile long-run. It does not move on my waist. I first go through the front 2 bottles, then move the 2 back bottles to the front so I don't have to constantly reach behind for some fuel. It's nice that there are 4 bottles, it really helps with weight distribution. I do wish there were 2 pockets. That is my only complaint. It's a super tight fit to get my iPhone 5 in the pocket and leaves room for two Gu Energy Gel packet. I'm a bit nervous for the 20-miler coming up in a few weeks that I won't have enough room. I need to keep my cell phone with me (for safety if something happens). With no phone in the pocket, there is room for one packet of Gu Chomps and a few energy gel packets. I may try using the Otterbox Clip to hold my phone on the other side of the belt and fill the pocket with gu.
Since leaving the review, I've decided that I'm going to use my Otterbox clip and case to hold it on the belt, leaving the pocket completely full of Gu Chomps and Gels!  That'll be tested on this weekend's 16 mile run.  I will say that Fuel Belt customer service was quick to respond.  I can purchase an additional pocket if I really want one.  Since the belt came with 7 ounce bottles, I may pick up the 10oz bottles to go with it.  Tack those on the wish list!