While I can stretch, I don't do it enough. Stay tuned.
I did create a synopsis of the day on my ride home from Indianapolis:
3 min race review
Stayed on plan for 10k
Picked it up through half. Felt super easy
At 16 the hammy gave out; walked a bit to relax it
Speed was all over the board on a walk run limp
Stayed with Courtney for a bit as she passed with 3 to goNother big spike at 2.5Nursed myself homeLearned some stuff; overall, I’m optimistic. This body will go faster and I just PRd at 50
I'd like to break this down a bit more....
For the past 18 months I have found myself in the company of DWRunning for running and non-running company. They are a great group of people who share at least one interest with me, running. The principle coach is the son of someone who my high school coach both coached and held out as an example of what it means to drive yourself to excellence. When I first started with these guys, I was just back to running from a long winters nap. They are contagious in their enthusiasm and they invigorated my desire to run at a high level again. It didn't hurt that they had a plethora of runners who could pull me along on runs and there were a few high school and college alumni in the group.
As I got serious about training again, and having just paced the Chicago Marathon with my GER training partner, I decided to dip my toe in the racing pool again. I signed up for the Monumental half marathon. As it happened, many DWR runners were also going to be there. I had a surprisingly great result. I PR'd by about 2 minutes. The real joy of the day was watching my new training partner crush her PR. With this result in my pocket, I decided I was going to run the California International Marathon. I had run CIM before and the course is a bit hilly, but sets up very well for me. The race started very well, but I strained my groin just past the half way point. This was very demoralizing because I was having such a great race and felt very good.
After this race I probably felt a bit depressed and did exactly what I did not want to allow happen. I basically took the winter off again. This is really bad, because I train much better at cooler temperatures. Come spring, I found myself in a bad spot again and started building base. Again, I relied too much on my talent which is not as abundant as once was. I ramped up pretty fast which was not uncommon in the past, but I feel that Father Time is catching up and maybe that's not the way I should start my training cycles.
Anyhow, I spent the summer bandit pacing some DWR folk and dabbling in races that I was under-prepared for, but I wasn't really committed to racing. One day I finally looked at the pretend training I was doing and decided I was gonna make a plan. I enlisted Dan Walters from DWR to keep me accountable and decided that I was gonna get serious for Indianapolis (Monumental). This time I was gonna do the full and I was going to create a plan.
CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon is a great marathon; they attract large crowds have good crowd support; they're growing where most non-majors marathons are shrinking year over year. In addition, Matt Ebersole graciously allowed me an elite entry, based upon my past performances and current training.
@IndyMonumental @CNOFinancial #BeMonumental
CNO Monumental Supporters:The training went very well. I kept the mileage pretty high. I had some significant workouts each week. One really stand-out week was a fartlek on Tuesday; pacing my DWR pal at 6:30 on Wednesday; 10 mile tempo at 6 flat on Thursday and a 15 mile tempo at 6:11 on Saturday. I hadn't run sub 6 for 10 miles outside a race since the late 80s in college. A few weeks later I ran another 10 mile tempo at 6 flat again. I was really rolling along. My weekend were pushing my endurance averaging 30 miles a weekend sometimes as high as 40. Early in the cycle I was really dedicated to the gym and core as well. About this time, I started slacking off the gym work. I also started doing some significant workouts on less than flat courses. One day at the Arb, everything was going great until 2/3s of the way through, I could sense my hamstrings were not happy pushing these hills. I had to back down, and I stuck to flat for a while. I also added PT to my training. I was worried about the hamstrings and had to pace Chicago in a couple weeks. Ryan at Active Body Chiropractic started helping me work through the hamstring issues. He got me ready to pace Chicago and was not very concerned about Indy. For the most part he was right. Training kept floating along, but there were a couple hitches when on some hard workouts the hamstring would re-present and the groin from CIM came back too. Ryan managed the issues through ART, graston and needling.
- @MyFransican (presenting sponsor)
- @Chipotletweets (Presenting Sponsor)
- @TaylorsBakery (finish line cookies!)
- @PapaJohns (Recovery tent /pizza sponsor)
- @OldSpaghFactory (Pasta Dinner Sponsor)
- @gatorade , @aquafina, @TruMooMilk (finish line food)
The week leading up to Monumental I was worried, I didn't have a 20 miler since the Chicago marathon, I was nervous about the hamstrings and they prevented me from completing the training cycle as intended. I knew I had put a lot of hay in the barn and that in all likelihood I was fit enough for the trials on the Monumental marathon.
Friday, two of my long time training partners and I heading to Indy. Francesco and I were doing the full and Keith was along for moral support and participated in the half. The final few days had the hamstring feeling great in the act of daily activities and for the first time I was feeling good the chance to race. We headed to the elite meeting to drop off bottles and for last minute instructions. I was pleasantly surprised and reminded when I saw another training partner, Courtney, at the meeting. Courtney's primary goal was to hit the 2020 OTQ standard ~2:45. I told her I was targeting 2:42 and we made a plan to do some early miles together.
So, the race:
The elite entry has the added perk of allowing us to stay sheltered until the last minute and come to the start line just ahead of the gun. Keith was in the A corral right at the front along with another GER teammate, Rod. Keith was going to run with me for the first few miles to keep me honest. The goal was to very roughly run 6:10 through the half then see what was left. The first few miles went surprisingly close to plan. At about 4 miles, I was really loosening up and started descending down to 6:00. Keith warned my and I backed off a couple times but finally by about 6 miles, it was too natural to hit 6 flats. Courtney was there with me at this point, but sub-6 was not in her race plan and Courtney is smarter than I am. The next 10 miles were a dream. I was floating between 5:55 and 6:05. I was really managing the breathing. I was vigilant on relaxing. As I was moving up through the field, I would sit and draft a runner for a bit before moving on. There was nothing but happy thoughts in my head. I was talking with co-runners. I was looking at the architecture. I was just having a great relaxing long run.
At about 16 miles, I saw Declan, another DWR coach. He gave me a cheer and I rounded the corner. There was a very slight incline, maybe 20 feet. As I applied the force to head up the hill, ping!!! The dreaded twinge of the hamstring. It was a major pain spike and the leg ceased up. I was quickly relegated to walking. I used my hands and fingers to massage the knot and it slowly started to ease up. Now this is not the first time I have ever walked in a marathon, but this was very early in the race. I was fully depressed about the situation. I started to assess this situation and make a plan. Never plan during a race, unless you absolutely have to. I think this qualified. Much of the following is just inner dialog and stream of conscientiousness.
Ok you're pretty far under 6:06 pace (2:40)
Can you just run 6:10-15 pace. (This sounds stupid, but slowing down 10-15 seconds is a lot less effort)
Just then Dan Walters comes by on his bike. I let him know that the leg just gave out. Dan was consoling, but he's got other runners to help and at this point, he can't really offer me anything. It's just a bad situation.
A couple more steps and I start jogging...running...racing. I find that as I really concentrate on relaxing, the pain is manageable. Until it's not. I have several fits and starts here. The second female who has a bike escort passes me. The escort asks if I am OK. I say yes; again, what is she going to be able to do? Wait, I said I'm OK. Maybe I am, try running again. It's the same depressing cycle. Run - Race - Crash. This continued through about mile 19 with probably 3 see-saws between F2 and myself. Somehow in mile 20 I throw down a 6:03 again. Is this behind me? Can I just get 5 more miles? Alas, no. Every slight incline causes me to red-line the pain meter and I flail. More see-saw, until about 23 miles, where I have seen the last of F2.
At about this time Courtney is starting to come up on me. How do I know, because Dan and Declan are both yelling to urge her ahead to catch F2. Because of our last encounter at mile 16, I think Dan counted me out and rightfully so, but HEY! I'm right here Dan ;-)
As Courtney pulls along side me I try to make a plan that I am going to help her catch F2. We round the corner onto Meridian and we give chase. Courtney is doing great, as Dan shouted, just relax and move forward, she was doing it. We ran together for another 1/2 - 3/4 mile before I had an excruciating flare up. I squeaked like a girl, pretty much scared Courtney, she turned to see what the commotion was, but I just stressed to her that I would be fine, go catch her!
Now I am just doing terrible runner math. I have 2.5 miles to go so just hold on to 6:30 and you're home in 15. Ok 15 plus 2:28 is 2:40. Wait that can't be right. Why is there a bicycle perpendicular to the course in my lane? Ok, just run 7s and you'll have 2:45. Hey that big monument is near the finish. Can you press the pace? You still have the PR in hand. Why do you put yourself through this. Is it one more turn or two. The crowds getting louder, we have to be close. I make the next to last turn and hoping for just a block to the final turn. Uuugh, 3 blocks, I just can't. Wait, maybe I can just keep the legs moving. Corner is approaching. We're almost there. Turn the corner to the sight of the finish arch. I'm done.
It was ugly, but I just PR'd the marathon in my 51st lap around the sun. I'm getting faster each year still.
Retrospective:While the hamstring was real, I think part of this failing was that I just didn't want it bad enough. I probably quit just as much as the pain forced me to slow. I didn't keep the mental fortitude to keep forging ahead.
I absolutely believe there is a sub-2:40 in me.
Probably started too fast or at least went fast too soon. I do think I can handle this pace, just more practice.
I can rehab and strengthen these hammies
I need to keep the cross-training up to have success.
I need to keep the demons that say stop at bay.
OK, ERICA, FRANCESCO, JAMIE, DAN: BOSTON 2018 - 2:39:59