Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon - Week 10 training

Since it is less than 2 months till my second marathon.  I decided to start breaking down my training summaries into weekly summaries versus monthly.  Week 9 was about getting back on track for me.  I suffered a sinus infection last week due to some major allergy issues.  They are back to normal now and I am back training without any issues.  Overall it was a pretty good week.  The weather here was outstanding, but very warm and humid.  My long run for the week was 15 miles.  I was fairly happy with how it went, but I was a little slower than I had hoped and it felt like I was working a little harder than I should have been to run that pace.  The humidity was at 93%, so hopefully this had something to do with it.  Also this week, I had my first private swim lesson.  It went really well and I was not as far off as I thought.  A couple quick adjustments and the difference was tremendous.  My trainer was very impressed with my buoyancy.  Hopefully it was not a polite way of saying your fat ass butt floats good.  The best news of this week is that I lost another 2 lbs bringing my total loss for 2012 to 16 pouns.  I am still not at my race weight goal, but I am already 5 pounds less than when I ran the marathon last year.  

Up for this week, more running, swimming, and cycling.  My long run this week will be 20 miles and I am sure it will be on my mind all week.  I also want to get back on track with a little speed work.  I'm disappointed I let that slide last week.  

Rest day

26 mile ride with an average speed of 17.7

8 mile run with an average pace of 9:24

30 minute private swim lesson
5 mile run with an average pace of 9:18

25 mile ride with an average speed of 17.7

15 mile run with an average pace of 9:31

8 mile run with an average pace of 9:18
500 yard swim

Miles:  87
Time:  9 hours 18 minutes
Cals burned:  8,430

Weight loss:  2 lbs lost.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

60 days till RiteAid Cleveland Marathon - The Dog Days of Training

60 Days!!!! Yep, only 60 more days till the RiteAid Cleveland Marathon.  For those of us who are doing an 18 week program.  We are beginning the second half of our training.  Last year I named this portion the dog days.

I named the late March to late April portion of my training the dog days.  As this is the period when your miles begin to pile on.  50 mile weeks and 20 mile runs begin to consume your every thought.   Fatigue and frustration can set in and if you are not careful, so can negativity.  Last year I made the mistake of letting how my long run went affect my mood for the next week.  I wasn't prepared for the increase in adversity that came with the increase in mileage.  For those of you who are training for your first marathon.  I wanted to share with you what I learned last year.  Not only are these weeks important to building your running endurance.  They are also important to building your mental stamina as well.  The adversity you will be facing on your high mileage weeks and long runs is the same adversity you will face on race day.  It is important to remain positive.  Trusting in your training and in yourself will help you not only with your journey to race, but also the marathon.  The road ahead is a rocky one and the light at the end of the tunnel is not quite in sight yet.  When I get down or think I am not going to make it, I think positive and picture how great that finish line is going to look in 60 days.

Upset about running in the rain??  Think positive!!  Its nature's way of trying to hydrated you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shamrock 15K race recap

This past Sunday I ran my not only my 2nd road race of the year, but my 2nd road race of the weekend.  Crazy?  Yes, some would think that.  Especially this early in the race season.  I've always been attracted to doing things that most people won't try and this weekend was no different.  Following up Cleveland's hilliest race with the hilliest race in the Akron area.  Joining me in the insanity were fellow friends Ryan McCartney and Jessica Bagwell.

I did not have a real plan heading into the weekend except to use it to test where I am at in my fitness and survive.  I had wanted to save energy for Sunday's race since it was a distance race and it was on roads that I train on.  The plan was to run strong and to eat the climbs, but I was on my "A" game Saturday and couldn't pass the chance to do something special.  Running a hilly five miler at an 8:01 average pace.  My best 5K pace was 8:00 on a flat course.

On Sunday, my legs felt surprisingly good.  We were also blessed with amazing weather.  The temp was in the mid 60"s!!  Roughly 40 degrees warmer than Saturday's race.  It was my warmest run of the year. I got to the race early and met up with my friends and fellow dirty runners Jessica Bagwell, Ryan McCartney, and Allison Colleen.

Fellow Dirtyrunner Allison and dirtyrunner mascot, Brody

After the start debacle from the day before.  I decided to do something i've never have done before.  I started towards the front.  I must admit, I felt out of place being surrounded by tons of runners who weigh about 100 lbs less than me.  I felt like the were looking at me as if I  would be guaranteed to be in their way.

The race began and I got off to a great start.  It was so refreshing not being held up by race traffic.  I moved to the side as to not get in anyones way.  I kept up with the main back and ran mile 1 in 7:35.  The first 3 miles are mostly down hill with some portions being a steeper grade than others.  I still haven't mastered the art of getting down hill at race speed, but still managed to run the next to miles in the low 8's.  Mile 4 was mostly flat with a false flat towards the end.  I felt ran and continued in the low 8's.   Now, the next 5.3 miles is when the real race starts.  It is a consistent 5.3 mile climb that will test every fiber of you being.  Approaching the climb from the North.  You can see it till you make the left and this is what you see.


I hit the climb and I was done.  I had zero strength in my legs.  This was the first time I could feel Saturday's effort.  My pace immediately dropped and I ran the next 3 miles at 9:20, 9:30, and 9:20.  After Saturday's effort.  I decided it would be good for me to run my marathon pace.  Since I will be faced with adversity and fatigue.  I would to practice fighting through the pain.  Fortunately, all my training on Stow's rolling hills has paid off as I am able to recovery quickly from climbs.  So, I was able to attack the last two miles as the climbs were separated by some short flats.  I fought hard those miles and finished in 1:22 for an average pace of 8:51.  Exactly what I would like to run my marathon in.

It was a great weekend and I survived.  I learned that I am even further along in my training than I thought and I am excited to continue to build on my form.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012 Hermes St. Malachi 5 miler race recap

Saturday was a day of firsts for me.  It was my first road race of the year and my first year running the St. Malachi 5 miler.  It is one of Cleveland's signature races and I was excited not only to run this great event, but seem some great friends.

Your's truly on the cover of Hermes 2012 Event Guide

On race day we were blessed with sunny skies and no wind.  It was a bit chilly, but otherwise perfect conditions for an early March race.  I had no real goal going into this race other than running between 8:50-9 minute average pace.  This was my first of two races this weekend and as hard as this race was.  Sunday's 15K was much harder.

My race started with a half mile warm up.  Then made my way to the start line with fellow #dirtyrunner and Ragnar teammate  Jill Earle.  This is a large race and this year had a great turnout of over 2,500 runners.

The elevation chart does not do this course justice.

The start was jammed and I was walled in with walkers.  I had no where to go and had to walk to the first corner.  Fortunately, I was able to clear them by the first bridge and hit the sidewalk to make up the time lost.  I was through the first mile in 8:20.   At this point I began to relax a little and decided to run slightly above comfortable.  Mile 2 passed by and BOOM!  7:25  I was shocked.  This was the easy portion of the course, but I was feeling great and continued on.  Mile 3 was 8:02...WOW!  I was way ahead of my goal pace.  Even better than my 5K pace.  I have never ran 5 miles below 40 minutes and decided to see if I could hang on.  I made it through mile 4 losing a little time on the next climb.  Mile 5 consisted of a short steep climb followed by a long climb over a bride.  I kept telling myself if I could crest the bridge at 37:00, that I could make it.  I tried to climb it as fast as I could and it felt like my heart was going to fly out of my chest.  I don't remember what my time was at the top, but I tried to recover on my way down.  Thankfully,  I caught my breath back and sprinted to the finish.  There was a lot of runner traffic.  So I had to take the next 2 turns wide.  Sprinting to the finish I made it in 40:04.89 for an average pace of 8:01.

Not only was I shocked to 5 miles so quickly (my 5K PR is 8:00 pace), but to do it on that course was amazing.  I PR'd my 5 mile race by 1:56!!  Hermes had a post race party at McCarthy's bar.  It was a great time celebrating everyone's PR's with Summer Shandy!!  Yes, Summer Shandy is out here.  Just in time for the race season.

The Sunday run crew and fellow Ragnar teammates Jessica, Ryan, and Kristy

Celebrating with Jill and Pam.

A PR party isn't a PR party unless you have Shandy!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2012 Twinsburg Indoor Triathlon Race Report - Counts?

For about two years now.  I have flirted with the idea of doing a triathlon.  Even my bucket list is topped with the dream of doing an Ironman.  Why have I been dragging my feet?  Swimming.  I suck at swimming, I don't know what i'm doing, and I am very afraid of swimming in open water.  All these reasons make it easy for me to not hit the pool at the gym.  This year I have made more of an effort to include swimming in my workouts.  So, when my good friends Christian, Kristy, Jessica, and Mason signed up for an indoor Triathlon.  I decided it was time for me to give it a TRI.

The race was fairly simple.  Each segment was 20 minutes and you were to swim, bike, and run as much as you could.

I had no real goal during the swim other than not to drown or embarrass myself.  I was in the first wave of racers and we shared a lane.  Thankfully, I was with another swim noob and I did a good job of staying out of her way.  I kept it fairly simple and used my for form of flinging my arms to propel myself forward.  I am still in the process of learning how to breath while swimming the freestyle stroke and only managed 300 yards in 20 minutes.

My plan was to attack the bike and make up for any points lost during the swim.  Fortunately, the bike measured the distance and I decide to go on the attack.  I went out fast with the intent to finish first.  Too bad myself and everyone else didn't realize the bike did not register anything over a 120 cadence.  This was easily achieved as the resistance was set waaaaay to low.  You were basically flinging your legs around in a circle and not riding.  I finished with a respectful 10.20 miles in 20 minutes.  Sadly,  I was only .01 from first overall in the bike.  Since there was a limiter on the bike, everyone had roughly the same distance.  The only difference being who was up to speed the quickest.  So, I did not make up the points I had expected.

My goal was pretty simple.  Ease out of the rubber bike legs and run a solid pace for the remainder of the run.  I easily accomplished this and was only lapped by the speedsters Mason, Jessica, and Kristy.  I did 24 laps, which worked out to be 2.4 miles or an average pace of 8:20.  Not too shabby for not putting out a race effort on the run.

Well, I had a great time and I am looking forward to doing more Triathlons this year.  I have already registered for my next indoor race on 3/18 and joined the Cleveland Triathlon Club.  My biggest news is that I also invested in some private swim lessons.  I am pretty satisfied with how the race went.  I am just a little sad that I came within a couple points of placing in my age group.  I've never placed in anything yet and it would have been special to have done it in my first TRI.  On the bright side, I just want to do it more at the next race.  So, does this count?  Am I TRIBeal now.  No, not yet....but very soon.  I know how much harder it is to run and ride outside.  I can only imagine how much harder the outdoor swim mixed the other events will be.  So, I'm not considering myself a Triathlete yet.  The good news is that I learned that my brick workouts are paying off as I felt pretty great in the days following this event.

I also want to send a special congratulations to Jessica Bagwell and Kristy Hill.  Jessica placed 3rd in her age group and Kristy Hill WON overall female!!!  Great job and there first ever TRI too.  Big congrats!

Left to Right Mason, Jessica, Beal, Kristy, and Christian


Monday, March 5, 2012

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon - The decision

In case you missed it.  This past Saturday I finally made the decision on which Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race I would participate in.....

Now, I promise I don't hace commitment issues.  It only took an 18 mile run, 2 Christmas Ales, and a Summer Shandy to finally make my decision.

In all seriousness, this was my plan all along.  I had a hard time this year deciding what goals to shoot for and it ended up being a blessing in disguise.  I enjoyed the freedom to train how I wanted and without the pressure of sticking to a strict program.  I enjoy what I do, so there was never an instance when I slacked because I didn't have a set goal.  In the end, I trained harder this year than I did last year.  This has paid off and I feel that I am in better shape now than when I was before last year's marathon.  My last two long runs of 15 and 18 miles where each 12+ minutes faster than my best run at that distance last year.

I learned a lot last year about training, preparation, and racing a marathon.  I am looking forward to applying that to this year.  Check back soon for another post that will I share these items in greater detail.

I also want to thank everyone again for their support this year and all the encouragement you have given me.  It is greatly appreciated.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Training Recap

We've continued to be lucky here in Northeast Ohio as our mild winter has continued through February.  Thankfully, I was able to take advantage of it by continuing to do my workouts outside.  I was only on the treadmill 3 times this month.  Along with increasing my miles.  I incorporated more brick workouts to my running with cycling and even did some swimming!  My long runs consisted of two 13.1's and two 15's.  Being able to train outside allowed me run my last 15 miler 9 minutes faster than my best 15 mile run during last year's marathon training.  I tribute this all to the early outdoor running and my fast Sunday runs with Ryan, Jessica, Kristy, and Mason.  I also did my first 2 snow runs this month.  Apart from one fall, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  Another first this month was my an indoor triathlon.  I won't go too much in that now as I should have the race report up this weekend.  The only thing I wasn't satisfied with was weight loss.  I only lost 3 pounds this month, which is a major disappointment after last month.  I'm going to sit down the next few days and re-work my diet so I can get it back on track in March.

The month ahead will be another busy one for me.  I will continue to build my running and cycling mileage.  I'm also going to attend some private swimming lessons to work on my form.  March will also entail some additional races including St. Malachi 5 miler, Shamrock 15K, and CSU indoor Triathlon.

Total miles:  328

Running:  159 miles with an average pace of 9:18

Cycling:  169 miles with an average speed of 17.7 mph

Swimming:  1,960 yards

Calories burned:  32,408

Hours spent training:  34 hrs 40 minutes

Weight loss:  3 pounds, which makes 9 pounds for the year.