Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weeks 16 and 17 of marathon training.

Becoming an official blogger for the Cleveland Marathon has thrown things off a little the past two weeks. Typically, I post a training re-cap from the past week as well as provide a little insight into what is ahead for the coming week.  So, I will combine the past two weeks into one post.  Overall, the past two weeks can be categorized as so-so.  It pretty much rained non-stop for these two weeks.  Good news is that I stuck it out and ran outside still.  Bad news is that I barely got any cycling training in.  Right now I am in good shape, but not where I need to be for cycling.  Once this marathon month of may is over.  It will be straight into 3 months of cycling events with a couple of triathlons sprinkled in for fun.  As the taper rolls on these next couple weeks.  I would like to get some quality rides in as well as some swim training.  I need to get both back on track.  As far as long runs go.  Week 16 was 15 miles and Week 17 was 22 miles.  I'm still continuing to struggle as I reach the 20 mile mark.  It seems like once I get to mile 18, its a nose dive in pace.  Hopefully, I'm this can be attributed to tired legs or that I live in a hilly area.

Week 1 Running:  45 miles 9:25 avg pace
Week 2 Running:  40 miles 9:30 avg pace      
Cycling:  52 miles outside  with an average speed of 18 mph.

Weight training:  3 sessions:  Bench 1x12 165lbs 1x8 185lbs 1x4 205lbs
                                             Incline Bench 2x12 120lbs 1x10 115lbs
                                             T-Bar Row 2x15 75lbs
                                             Close Grip Pullups 3x12 (Weight assisted)
                                             Military Press 3x15 55lbs
                                             Pull ups 3x15 15lbs

Weight training 3 sessions (workout 2)  :  Incline curls 3x12 25 lbs
                                           Preacher curls 3x12 80lbs
                                           Tricep pulldown 3x12 85lbs
                                           Reverse Tri pulldown (one arm) 3x15 45lbs
                                           Reverse Preacher curl (straight bar) 3x12 50lbs

Calories burned:  Week 16:  9,447  Week 17:  7,128
Weight loss this week:  2lbs
Weight loss YTD:  11lbs

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What makes a marathoner?

I've spent the past couple days brainstorming on what I should talk about next.  First, I would like to thank everybody for their support and the kind words that I received since my first post as a Cleveland Marathon blogger.  I never imagined how well the post would have been received and I am truly grateful for this opportunity.  A special thank you also goes to all those who have recommended my blog to others.  I truly appreciated it.

This was big weekend for a lot of us.  Not only is it a holiday weekend, but it is our last major run of training.  Many of us will be pounding out a 20+ miler this weekend.  I got my long run in on Saturday morning. We were fortunate here as the rain cleared out at dawn.  I spent the bulk of the run contemplating what it takes to be a marathoner.  I don't consider myself a runner and sometimes I even wonder If it was a mistake to attempt this distance.  Those of you who know me.  Are well familiar with my I'm just a cyclist impersonating a runner line.  Now, most do think I am crazy for not considering myself a runner.  But I personally I've never felt like one.  So to help myself prepare mentally for what will be the longest distance I've ever ran in my life.  I decided to come up with 26 words that I think describes a marathoner and I would like to share them with you.  I plan on using these words as motivation during training and on race day.


The last word is what I should focus on the most.  As I often loose sight of the fact that running should be fun.  I've been reminded this on several occasions by some running friends and even by runners I don't even know.  As you can see in the photo below.  Not much excitement there.  Definitely need to work on that over the next 3 weeks as well as focus on the other twenty five.  As I feel this is what it will take to be a marathoner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Northeast Ohio Runners

I received a email yesterday from the Cleveland Marathon asking me if I would like to be one of their "official bloggers."  I thought about it for awhile and decided that I would share the rest of my marathon journey with the fellow marathoners participating in the race.  Once I sent my reply, I could feel the pressure building to come up with something inspirational to say.  For those of you who are new to my blog, I'm the one the call Beal.  A local cyclist who is attempting to impersonate a runner by completing my first ever marathon in Cleveland on 5/15 and my second in Buffalo two weeks later.  Some of you may know me as @Beal88 on Twitter and even a few of you may actually know me personally.  For the new people, I will keep it short.  I was born in raised in Akron, Ohio.  Was fortunate enough to be a college baseball player, but unfortunately suffered a career ending injury in college.  I found comfort in eating through my twenties and ballooned to over 300 lbs.  Got my life back on track after a near death experience by choosing a healthy lifestyle.  Through cycling and running over the past 26 months, I have lost over a hundred pounds.  I continue to challenge myself physically by doing things that I never thought were possible.  For example, running a marathon and competing in a Triathlon this year.

Ok, so enough about me.  How about something inspirational.....

I spent a fair amount of time today trying to think about something inspirational to say today.  I was at loss all day too until it hit me on today's run.

Most of us running the Cleveland Marathon will be from Ohio and this spring can only be described as terrible.   During our training runs we've been snowed on, rained on, sleeted on, and hailed on.  We've ran through thunderstorms. We've ran head first into 40 mph head winds.  We've ran in sub zero temperatures and I think it was even sunny once.  We've had to survive it all this Spring.  All in hopes that it would be nice one day.  If you are anything like me, you are at your wits end.  A tired runner who has been beaten down repeatedly by mother nature only to head back out the next day to do it again.

For those of us running this marathon, this is our last hard week and our last significant long run will be this weekend.  By looking at our weather forecast, mother nature is going to fight us all week long with chilly temps and rain everyday  As the weekend draws closer, it's looking more likely that this long run will be done in the rain.  This has been troubling me a lot this week, until I was running in the rain today.  It came to me that:

I live in Northeast Ohio.  I was born in this weather.  I grew up in this weather.  I live in this weather.  I am a Northeast Ohioan and I will run in this weather.

So, no matter what Mother Nature has us on 5/15.  It won't be anything worse than what we have trained in already.  And when they put that finishers medal around necks.  Take a brief moment to think about how hard we fought to get to that moment.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon

LAS VEGAS......those two words really need no introduction.  Not many towns in the world inspire the emotions that this town does.  Both for the good and for the bad.  About 6 weeks ago I was fiddling around on a social media site.  I honestly don't remember which site, but very easily could have been Twitter or Facebook.  What I read, stopped me dead in my tracks.  The headline read:  Come run the first Las Vegas Marathon on the Strip at night.......What?  Run the Strip.....the Vegas Strip?......Wait.....Run the Vegas Strip at night?  

I couldn't believe what I just read.  Not only was it an excuse to go to Vegas, but to run a race on the Strip and add the bonus of doing it at night.  Needless to say, they had my interest.   I logged on the website and sure enough.  The race is at night and runs the whole strip for the first time.  The half marathon is basically a down and back on the strip and the full is the same, but you break off for the additional miles.  I had told myself I was going to do the half, but hadn't committed to anything.

That all changed last week when I read a tweet from @TheLadyBaha.  For those of you who don't know Lady Baha, 1) follow her on twitter 2) She's the wife of Jason aka @cooktraineatrce.  The tweet was that she was doing the Vegas marathon and was curious to know who was in.  I quickly threw my hat in the ring and said I was in.  Jason quickly jumped in as well (I think the Baha may have told him he was racing, but we'll pretend it was his idea).

So far the 3 of us are for sure.  Another four are maybes.  Plus, I am working on a couple local (non-twitter) runners to join in as well.  Also, I can not confirm nor deny scheming to get the unicorn himself @tridiesel to join in the fun as well.

So, I am putting this post out there to see how many Angels and Ninjas we can get together to finish out what is going to be a great 2011 for everyone.  Feel free to forward this to everyone who may be interested.  The race isn't till 12/4 so, it will be a fun 8 months of trash talk and inspiration.  Also, we'll come up with some interesting side bets and challenges.  Maybe even create some of our own medals for ourselves.  I'll list the details below.  If you have any questions, let me know.

Race date:  12/4/2011
Location:  Las Vegas
Registration:  Opens 5/31/2011
Hotel:  Some are staying at the Bahama Resort.  The start finish line is at Mandalay Bay and they have rooms available.
Flights:  Seems like everyone is flying in Friday and leaving Monday.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 15 of 20 Marathon training

Wow, what a difference a week makes.  This time last week, I was punching away at the computer trying to make sense of a poor half marathon that I just ran.  I know I have been fairly negative about everything the past month.  Basically, since I have been training outdoors.  Well, this finally will be a positive post.  I had a great week of training this week.  The weather here in Ohio finally creeped above freezing and I was able to do my full training.  My plan going into the marathon was to do my runs, then ride to build additional endurance.  I did this late last year and improved my half marathon time by 14 minutes in a 6 week period.  Going into 2011, I was eager to see if I could parlay this type of training to the marathon.  Well, it has been a massive fail.  As it has been a horrible Spring here.  The good news is I have 2 1/2 weeks till taper to put the final touches on my training.  My long run this week was 22 miles.  I spent the past week pondering how I was going to survive it.  It almost felt like I had a giant 22 following me, every where I went.  I did the 22 miler this past Saturday and I broke it done like this.  A four mile easy run and then a 10 mile race, followed by a 8 mile survival.  As I started I felt pretty good on the 4 miler and slowed my self down repeatedly.  I then moved on to the 10 mile race and ran faster than I have since I ever have.  Without trying, I ran a faster 13.1 than I ran the week prior.  After the race I said goodbye some running friends as they all said I was crazy for running another 8, but I took off and ended up keeping a solid pace between 9-10 minutes per mile.  I couldn't believe it.  I was finally running over 20 miles without wishing for death.  I even finished the 22 mile run 9 minutes faster than the 20 miles I ran 2 weeks before.  So, how did I celebrate?  I quickly drove home stopping at Chipotle (needed to refuel).  Snarfed a burrito and headed out for a 22 bike ride to Kent and back.  I was shocked as I felt about 80% on the bike, even keeping a 18-20 mph pace.  I quickly dubbed the workout the double deuce.  It took a total of 4 1/2 hours and I burned over 4,900 calories.  I needed that day as it was the first time I told myself I can do 26.2.

Total miles:  114 (all outside)
Running:  34
Cycling:  80
Avg run pace:  9:13
Cals burned:  9,078
Time training:  10 hours 3 minutes.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Classic - 4/9/11

I ran the Spring Classic on Saturday.  It was a 10 mile race located at Bonnie Park in Strongsville, Ohio.  It was put on by the Cleveland West Road Runners Club.  I ran their fall race (Fall Classic) last November and had a great time, so I had been looking forward to this race all year.  New for 2011 was the 10 mile distance.  In years past, it was a half marathon and 5K.

Overall, I thought this was a great event.  The distance was true and the volunteers where great as well.  My only complaint was the 5K route was not clearly marked.  A friend of a friend was running her first 5K and hung a right when she was supposed to hang a left.  I never saw the sign myself and actually ran the 5K route during warm ups without even realizing it.  It is unfortunate that someones first race had to be this experience.  Other than that, the route was fairly flat and the finishers medal was a nice surprise.

I went into the race with no real expectations.  I had never ran a 10 mile race and did not really know what to expect.  Currently, I have only ran 3 half marathons and 3 5Ks.  So, I probably still should be considered a newbie.  I won't get into too many of the details about the run as a whole....saving that for the weekly training blog, as I ran a total of 22 miles.   I got to Bonnie Park 90 minutes before the start and proceeded to go for a nice 4 mile run.  I looped around and grabbed a bagel from the car and a Power ade and realized my brand new shorts did not have a pocket large enough for chomps.  This put me in a pleasant mood as I just dropped 45 bucks on these the night before and had planned on making them my marathon shorts.  I was so excited about finding a pair with a zip pocket for keys, that I forgot to check for anything else.  I then made my way to the start and ran into @mojamala2 and another running friend.  I nom nom'd on my bagel and slammed the power ade as the start time arrived.  The pace started fairly quickly and I found my self running about a minute faster than I had wanted.  I had only intended to run about 80% in hopes of just surviving the 22 mile day, but I felt good and went with it.  I still struggled through the water stops, but they had some fruit punch gatorade, which is a savior for me.  The yellow upsets my stomach.  I felt strong throughout the race and kept a decent pace for the clydesdale that I am.  I finished with a time of 1:24:37.  My average pace was 8:28, which was good enough for 4th in my age group and 76th overall.  A big congrats goes to @clecraftbeerrun as he finished with a PR and 10th overall and @mojamala2, who finished just shy of a PR and smoked the daylights out of my time.  Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my race.  I am a little disgruntled about the walkers.  Most were walking 4+ wide and it was hard to get around them at times and I almost got hit by a biker near the finish.  I am not sure what he was thinking as he looked right at me and continued to almost run me over.  I do apologize for the GD bomb I dropped on you, but I was rounding 3rd and heading home.  Lol.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week 14 of 20 Marathon training

Not a whole lot to talk about this week as it was a bit of a recovery for me.  I dialed things back a bit on Friday and Saturday to race the Towpath Half Marathon this past Sunday.  I ran a decent race with a half time of 1:57.  I thought I would run a little better than I did.  What I found most concerning was my average heart rate for the race was 180 bpm.  My heart rate has been decreasing a little each week, so it was a little troubling to see it still this high in race conditions.  When I started training I had planned on building endurance with some cycling after runs, but the weather this Spring has been awful.  One good thing is I have 3 weeks til tapper to get as much work in as possible.  Up for this week is more running with a long run Saturday of 22 miles.  10 of which will be at the Spring Classic.

Miles:  31...All outside
Average pace:  9:00
Calories burned:  5617

Monday, April 4, 2011

Towpath Half Marathon

This past Sunday I ran my first half marathon of 2011.  It was the Towpath Half Marathon in Cleveland Ohio.  It also was the first leg of the new Towpath Trilogy.  A three part race series on different sections of the towpath.  Both the trilogy and this event are new for 2011.  Some area runners may be more familiar with their fall race, the Towpath Marathon.

Overall this was a very well run event.  Plenty of water stops, great signage, plenty of parking close by, a free beer, good food at the finish, and a pretty cool looking medal.  I also really liked the shirts for the event.  The men received a forest green dri-fit shirt and the ladies got the same shirt in a nuclear neon.  I am pretty sure you can be tracked from space in those things.  They are that bright.

I do have one complaint about the event....the course was 13.5 miles instead of 13.1!  To some this may not be a big deal, but with today's technology.  There is no reason to be this far off and there was plenty of areas on the course that could have been shortened.  Other than that, I really don't have any complaints. 

I ran a decent time at 1:57 for the half and for the 13.5 I was at 2:01.  I don't believe I PR'd, but it was good practice and I learned a few things as I hit the 40 days till the Cleveland Marathon.  I also learned that I must not look like I am having fun while running as an elder runner made a point to tell me this is for fun at mile 12.  

Also, big congrats go to Ryan McCartney (CLEcraftbeerun) and Jessica Bagwell (@mojamala2).  They were rockstars and had outstanding races.