Sunday, May 4, 2008

An emotional training week (4/28-5/4 - 8 weeks to Mohican)

This was an emotionally tough week. On Monday, we found out our baby will have to be born by c-section as he's breech (feet first). While the news could have been a lot worse, this was not the news we were hoping for. Every parent-to-be hopes for a "normal" child birth. On Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after hearing the news and feeling fearful, I was out for my early-morning run watching the sun rise and lost my composure at one point but kept going. This was probably good for me. My emotions remained mostly in check the rest of the week as I tried to focus on my goal--strong track and tempo workouts, a marathon-pace run on Sunday, and breaking 100 miles for the week yet again, all of which I did. In reality, all the running this week was probably good for me emotionally. I have found that, through it all, running is always there for me. Who needs a therapist when there are running shoes?

PM: 6.5 miles at near marathon pace (6:50)
I'd just heard the news from my wife and ran this one hard for a Monday because, well, it's what I needed at that point. Running scared, you could call it.
Total miles for day: 6.5

AM: 8.5 miles
PM: 5.5 miles
Without question the hardest day of the week for me. I don't know what got me through these 14 miles--something beyond what I could understand.
Total miles for day: 14

AM: 9-mile track workout
3x1600 at 5:40, 5:36, 5:39 with 400 recovery
Still not quite mentally there, I was off-speed for the first 400 of my first mile-repeat, running it in 1:30 when it should have been 1:23-1:25. But then I compensated for the lost time, picking up my speed for the next three laps and, in the process, wearing myself down. I was able to get through the second repeat in pretty good shape, but then I was hurting on the third repeat...but hung on. Overall, a pretty good track workout.
PM: 6 miles
Total miles for day: 15

AM: 8.6 miles
PM: 5 miles
Total miles for day: 13.6

AM: 12-mile tempo run
Absolutely busted my ass on one of my better tempo runs. I held a 6:15-6:30 pace on a hilly, punishing course. I ran my first mile at 7:56 to warm up, and then I dropped the hammer, not going above 6:26 through mile 8 (ordinarily, my tempo pace would be about 6:15, but these hills slowed me a bit). Then on mile 9, I "slowed" down to 6:54 and then to mid-7-minute miles the rest of the way to cool down. By the time I was done I had salt around my mouth, was tired as hell, definitely not mentally 100 percent, and was so dehydrated that my urine was sludgy. Sorry if that was that too much information.
PM: 4 miles at recovery pace
Total miles for day: 16

AM: 19 miles in South Chagrin Reservation, starting at the sledding hill parking lot. I met Jeff U., Ted F., Tim C., Scott, Jeff T. et al and from there we went to the Polo Field and back, adding extra miles in the end via a 25-minute loop. Then Ted and I went out for about 10 more, unexpectedly meeting up with Wayne V. and his son-in-law short of the Polo Field. We all ran together for the next several miles, trading entertaining stories. I ended the morning with 19 miles, feeling very strong and fresh. Ted looked strong, ending with 18 miles.
PM: 4 miles at recovery pace
Total miles for day: 23

AM: Ran with the Southeast Running Club in Solon. This was my last long run going into the Cleveland Marathon. My goal was to run at marathon pace from the start to the water-stop, and then remain at marathon pace as long as I could. I knew that, having run 23 miles the previous day, holding marathon pace would be tough and that the wheels might come off. Fortunately, they didn't. After a 2.5 mile warm-up, I got back to the parking lot and then left with the club, going immediately into marathon pace. About 2 miles into my jaunt, Mark G. passed me going about 5:30 (the guy can flat-out haul ass), and then his brother Steve motored by. I maintained a 6:19 pace going into the 6-mile water stop (faster than marathon pace but what the hell, right?), also getting passed by Kam. From the water stop, I ran with Jeff U., Paul R., and Steve H., and then finished the run with Paul and Steve (Jeff headed back, whereas we went 14 miles) at sub-7 pace. Paul is definitely in great shape and poised to break 3 hours at Cleveland. I think there's a good chance he, Jeff, and I could finish together. For the morning, I covered 16.9 miles in 1:57:36, including the 2.5 mile warm-up that took about 19:30. I was very pleased with my run.
Total miles for day: 16.9

Total miles for week: 105

Next week, my goal is to get in 65-70 miles as I begin my taper for the Cleveland Marathon. Our baby will be born likely on Friday, which obviously means I won't be getting much running in over the weekend--maybe a few miles, but nothing major. Obviously, I won't want to run a lot then anyway! Then the following week I'll aim for about 25 miles going into Cleveland.

A guy in my running club has told multiple people that there is no way I'll break 3 hours at Cleveland due to the lack of sleep I'll experience going into the race (the baby will be a little over a week old by then). He's in the minority as most people think I will break 3. I love it when people like this guy bet against me, thinking I'm not strong enough to endure challenging circumstances. It motivates me. I've been beating the odds all my life and I can't wait to prove this guy wrong.

On that note, I am dedicating my marathon to my son-to-be, Noah. I will run it with all my heart and soul, just like Big Brown at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and just like runner-up Eight Belles who was tragically put down following the race after running her heart out. I want Noah to be proud of his father, not because I broke 3 hours, but because I laid it all on the line and left nothing on the course. I am ready.


  1. I have no doubt you will exceed your goal of 3 hours. Running is a mental sport and you have mastered it.

  2. I'm betting you'll run under 3 hours no problem. Noah, will be very proud of his dad for running a marathon in his honor.