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Archive for the category “Fargo Marathon”

Chicago Marathon Prep

It’s an exciting time as the fall marathon season begins and the marathon training programs wind down. Usually by late August/early September the weather in the Midwest mellows from the exasperating heat to a comfortable range to allow for those final 20 milers to be completed before the big race. This year has been a reverse of that pattern. Early August the temps cooled off, but the heat came back the last two weeks and look to continue for another week at least.

The best plan to beat the heat and still get those long runs in is to get up really early, as in before the sun comes up. 2011 was an especially hot summer and if I didn’t get up at 4:30 and hit the road by 5:00 the temps were in the high 80’s/low 90s by 9:00 and close to the 100’s by Noon. Avoiding the midday sun is always a wise choice, but that year it was an absolute necessity.

Though I hate to drive/waste gasoline to get a run in, the wise thing is to put out water/energy drink on your long run course. My usual course provides a few hiding places for the drinks, so as not to be disturbed by ill-doers. If your course is not so well equipped, the next best plan is to carry your beverage of choice. Personally I don’t like to carry water for several reasons, but the placement of beverages that are the same as the ones that will be provided at your marathon is optimal. As an example: The Chicago Marathon provides Gatorade Endurance formula and water. The Fargo Marathon provided PowerAde the year I ran it, so that year I started my marathon training using PowerAde (which I don’t like) up to Fargo and then switched to Gatorade after and then all the way up to Chicago. You always want to condition your body for all the variables you will be hit with at your respective marathon. The same can be said for energy gels.

Studying your marathon of choice’s website is key to any successful marathon pursuit. Limiting surprises is always a good idea. The more that you know going in, the less opportunity to have the unexpected trip you up on race day.

Fall Marathon Post 2013, Chicago Marathon 2013

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An End Each or One Double Ender

My Wife makes my lunch that I take to work each day.  When she is left with 2 ends of the loaf and 2 regular slices, she always uses one end per sandwich, so I am left with 2 sandwiches that are less than perfect. Yesterday was one of those days and I thought to myself is it better to have one awesome sandwich made with 2 regular slices and one double ender that leaves that sandwich bland and not so desirable.

How does this relate to running, you ask? Well, I will tell you. Given the opportunity to have 2 weekend runs that are better than average or one awesome run one day and one less than average run the next day, which would you choose?

The last few weekends have provided me with samples of both scenarios.  I ran a 7 mile on a Saturday and another 7 miles the next day.  Both runs were fine, but really didn’t tell me much about my overall conditioning and each just kind of lasted with that just get them done feel. Flash forward to this last weekend and I purposely ran a shorter distance of 5 miles on Saturday with the intent on running 11 miles on Sunday. My only worry on Saturday was if the weather didn’t work out on Sunday, my weekend goal would be shot. The weather did cooperate and I pushed myself to that 11 mile finish and my farthest run of 2013. The satisfaction level of that 11 miler far exceeded the 5 miler, but they each had their respective purpose toward the weekend goal of pushing my limits.

This takes me back to a marathon training program that I used in 2011 for the Fargo Marathon. The planned called for weeks where the weekend runs were either twins (same distance both Saturday and Sunday) or cousins (different distances with the longer distance on Sunday).

It’s nice to have that one spectacular run, but those average or blah runs do have their purpose. Variety in training is always a good thing and not every run (like a sandwich) will be perfect.

 

 

Rollercoaster Ride

The following post I started to write on March 29, 2011 as I prepared to run the Fargo Marathon in May of the same year. For some reason I stopped writing and didn’t post it:

It is a cliché’ to say that life is a rollercoaster ride. We all know that things go well and then they don’t. Rinse and repeat.

I have never run a marathon with 2 good knees. I injured my knee playing basketball in January of 1991, waited to have surgery until December of the same year. I didn’t rehab the knee as well as I should and have had stability issues with it ever since. When I started getting serious about running I was always able to run straight forward without pain, but never without fear that the knee would play tricks on me. From time to time the knee would tweak while going down stairs or while playing with my kids in the yard, but I was always able to run. Now within the last year, my knee will tweak on occasion while running. Today was one of those days. It stinks. I feel like I can run the marathon

The interesting part of this finished post is that I can hardly remember the knee tweak in question as I was able to complete the Fargo Marathon that year with no issues with my knee. What I do remember is I did where a knee sleeve for both that marathon and Chicago 2o11. The curse of the knee sleeve…

This year I dedicated myself to running unaided (no knee sleeve/support) and so far it has been a success. The knee feels stronger than in more years than I can remember with no trickiness while running. Yeah it still gets weird on me at the oddest times, but if I can run with no pain in that knee I will take that deal every time.

I once heard a story about a man who was told by his doctor not to run as he had some damage floating around in there. Instead of quitting, he ran longer and imagined the pounding was grinding the debris into minute particles that no longer bother him. That man went on to be a Ultra-Marathoner. The mind wins again.

7th in 11

2011 Marathon season is coming to a close and as I look back I could have done a lot of things different and maybe would have come through with more desired results. Oh such is the life of a marathon runner.

Chicago Marathon training – I didn’t run fast enough

Fargo Marathon training – I didn’t run far enough

Two big vastly different mistakes with similar lack luster results.

One the bright side I finished my 7th marathon with no career DNF’s. 2012 will not bring a Boston Marathon, however I just want to run and enjoy the experience. Priorities may change, but one thing stays the same – honest effort and an honest life. Ok that may be 2 things.

Marathon X 4 for 2012?

Well I doubled the number of marathons I have run in one year this year going from 1 to 2, now I am considering running 4 in 2012.

Fargo, Grandma’s, Chicago and New York. More to come later.

Habit of Bad Habits

To say I like to over do things I like to do would be an understatement. A lot of the good and even more of the bad. If I didn’t run I would probably weigh 300 pounds. Running makes me not want to do the bad things, but I still over eat from time to time and a day off from running makes me hungry or bored or both.

We all have different reasons to run. I love it and it loves me. At least that’s what it has been telling me lately. From the books I have read and the hills I have climbed, it has all come together to make it the most life affirming choice of this life.

The book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall notes that the ability to love and running do have a connection. Looking back on my life, I was not capable of love before I started running. Not sure if the connection runs that deep, but I am willing to run with it. Oh golly!

I didn’t care much for myself, before I starting running. I couldn’t maintain a relationship before I started running. I was only successful at escaping from my problems before I ran with them and worked them out.

Run far and find….yourself.

Chicago Training Off and Running

The gun has fired on my first week of my 18 week Chicago Marathon Training. Wow another 18 weeks. It seems like not so long ago (January 10th to be exact) I started my training for Fargo. It is weird to have that many weeks ahead of me again, but I am psyched to put Fargo behind me and really dig in to another chance at Boston glory. I have tweaked my schedule and am going back to long long runs of 20-24 miles. I hope the more familar plan will give me the more desired results.

I have a few 1/2 marathons planned for the summer as well as the most awesome race of all time, the Bix 7 miler. If you haven’t already, put the Bix 7 on your list as it is the best race in the midwest. Google that  bad boy.

Good luck with your training.

School of Run

If Jack Black was born to play Dewey Finn (Ned) in School of Rock, I was born to run and write about it tongue in shoe, er, cheek. Being able to run is a gift and sharing that gift with others is an even bigger gift. Running is like a hilly road as it has many peaks and valleys. Setting big goals are important as goals will help keep you on the road when maybe you just don’t feel like it on a rainy day.

Sometimes those goals are met and sometimes you may could up short like I did at the Fargo Marathon. I took sometime to cry in my oatmeal, a couple of days, and then I got back to training for the Chicago Marathon. With a 18 week training program set for Chicago, I only had one week to get myself back together and get back on the horse. Mentally I feel refreshed and as determined as ever to qualify for Boston.

That is just how it works, give it your best and if your best was less than expected, get back to work, make some adjustments and  be better the next time around.

Fargo Final Exam

Arriving in Fargo on Friday, I was very impressed with the ample free parking at the Fargodome and the layout for the marathon Expo. Easy in, easy out. I can see why The Fargo Marathon is highly recommended by Runner’s World. Big marathons can be a logistical nightmare and Fargo was anything but. If you have the opportunity to run Fargo, just do it.

From a personal standpoint, Fargo was a failure. I just didn’t have the energy to keep my pace up for the entire 26.2. Now I could list out a bunch of excuses, like the hotel reservations were screwed up, I didn’t sleep for 2 nights before the marathon and I forgot my energy drink the morning of, but that wouldn’t change anything. The bottom line is that I didn’t do what I wanted to do. I am disappointed and that is driving me to modify my plan for Chicago and go back to a more traditional training plan with longer long runs.

To be on  Boston Marathon Qualifying pace at the half and then have the wheels completely fall off is totally unacceptable to me. To have my worst marathon performance hurts. To spend a solid 4 and 1/2 months of training and have this ugliness occur tastes like crap.

I take the pain and use it as motivation, that is all I can do as I start another 18 week program for Chicago. I won’t let the failure stop me, but I will use the lesson to better the next time around, darn it!

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