Sunday, September 21, 2008

Columbus Marathon in my sights / Training week 9/15-9/21

Running-wise, this was a great week as I hit 91.25 miles (my third consecutive week of 90+ miles) with a pretty decent track workout on Wednesday, an excellent tempo run on Friday and a strong 20-miler at 7:18 pace on Sunday.

Life-wise, this was a very hard week. On Thursday, Noah was seen by a neurosurgeon because of flattening in the back of his head. Next week he will undergo a CT scan (necessitating sedation) at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and then we’ll learn the exact nature and cause of the flattening. It could be positional flattening (from lying on his back), which can be addressed through re-positioning or a special head band, or it could be a (rare) condition whereby the back of his skull has fused prematurely, which would likely require surgery.

So, as you’ve gathered, this was not the easiest week for Anne and me. We spent much of it worried, anxious and on edge. It is during times like these that I run my hardest and with great purpose. On Friday, I could have run through a brick wall pulling a one-ton pick-up truck.


Earlier this week I found myself closely watching stunt-runner Dean Karnazes go for the 48-hour treadmill record. This was for the "Live with Regis and Kelly" show, which sponsored a Guiness world records week. The run was viewable online by streaming video. Dean's a good runner and has done a lot of great things with his charity, but I knew when he kept getting off the treadmill during the second day--to do whatever it was he needed to do--that he wasn't going to beat the record. He wound up with 211 miles, well below the astounding record of 251.79 miles by Tany Mangan.

The Greatest of All Time.

Anyway, watching Dean get off the treadmill so much that second day, I couldn't help but wonder--how it is that he could have run 300 miles "nonstop," as he claims to have done?

As much as I think Dean's run was nothing more than a publicity stunt, I have to say these are some cool photos from the circus...I mean event.

DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE'S CALLED "THE LANCE ARMSTRONG OF RUNNING," DEAN IS NO YIANNIS KOUROS! FAR FROM IT!!! Yiannis (pictured above) has the 48-hour road record of 294+ miles, has covered 1,000 miles in 10 days, 10 hours and basically owns every ultrarunning world record! To say Dean is the Lance Armstrong of running is gravely disrespectful of and an afront to Yiannis Kouros, who is the Greatest of All Time (the GOAT). As great as Lance WAS in cycling, he was never as dominant in his sport as Yiannis has been in ultrarunning. Lance primarily dominated the Tour de France; Yiannis has dominated every distance- and time-based event in ultrarunning!

The only other athletes I'd place in YK's category would be Michael Jordon, Babe Ruth, Sugar Ray Robinson (from what I've read and been told), Jack Nicklaus (sorry Tiger, you don't get on this list 'til you've surpassed the Golden Bear) and maybe Pete Sampras (can't think of any one all-time dominant NFL player to list).


Here's how the week went:

AM: 5 miles easy at 7:40 pace during lunch
I felt pretty good after the previous day’s 22 miles. This run was through University Circle, Cleveland Heights and Little Italy and less than 8 hours after a very destructive hurricane storm blew through Cleveland, bringing winds in excess of 60 mph. Along the way, I saw some pretty nasty after-effects, like downed trees, limbs and thousands of sticks everywhere. Our yard was a major mess--sticks and limbs everywhere that I’ll be picking up into next spring. I should have taken photos of the mess.

AM: 8.05 miles at 7:30 pace
I felt pretty trashed—maybe delayed tiredness and soreness from Sunday's 22 miles
PM: 6.45 miles at 7:00 pace during lunch
I ran on the trails in Shaker Park and then in Little Italy, with a few sub-7:00 surges. I needed the soft surface of the trails.
Total miles for day: 14.5

AM: 8.6-mile track workout
After about a 3-mile warm-up, I ran 3x1600 with 400-meter recoveries at 5:40, 5:40 and 5:41. I was pretty disappointed in my times as I should have gone sub-5:40 at least for two of the three repeats. I wore my new Brooks Adrenalines, which have been a huge disappointment, and noticed that they were “flat,” unresponsive and hitting the track really hard. I won’t make any excuses for my repeat times, but I will say this—those Brooks didn’t do me any favors…. I’m beginning to think I should buy some lightweight trainers for my track workouts (I only wear lightweight trainers for races).
PM: 6.5 miles easy down and back on MLK during lunch
I ran with Don L., who regaled me with stories of his 2:30 marathon days. He told me about his win at the old Six Cities Marathon in the Cleveland area. I think it would have been a lot of fun marathoning back in the 1980s (and even more so in the 1970s, when Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter were in their primes)—when Americans still cared about distance running. The last American marathoner anyone cared about was Alberto Salazar.
Total miles for day: 15.1

AM: 8.25 miles at 7:30 pace
I carried my 2-lbs. dumbbells the first and last 2 miles of my run and was really feeling it. They make an otherwise easy-pace run quite challenging. I can see how carrying dumbbells would be great for 100-mile training.

AM: 9.35-mile tempo run (8 miles at 6:16 pace)
This was one of my better tempo runs in a long, long time. I was able to take my stress out on the road and just hammered it for 8 miles. Despite it being early (5:25 a.m.), super-dark, on a semi-hilly course and at a time in the week when I’m tired, I was able to get off to a strong start and maintain an aggressive pace with minimal tailing off in the end. My splits were: 1) 8:21 (warm-up), 2) 6:17, 3) 6:13, 4) 6:16, 5) 6:14, 6) 6:11, 7) 6:13, 8) 6:24, 9) 6:22 and 9.35) 2:40. This run tells me that I’m in sub-3 shape.
PM: 9 miles at 7:29 pace
Total miles for day: 18.35 miles

PM: 10.05 miles
I felt trashed, likely from the previous day’s hard tempo run and 18+ miles. The last two miles were a struggle. I wasn’t able to get in my usual Saturday-morning trail run as I had expected kid-duty.

AM: 20 miles at 7:18 pace in Solon with the Southeast Running Club
I warmed up with 4 miles in less than 30 minutes, and then met up with the club at 8:00 a.m. for the remaining 16 miles, most of which I ran with Paul R., with whom I had a great time talking. About 3 1/2 miles into the loop (which is about 2 ½ miles from the water stop), Steve H. came blowing past Paul and me on Liberty Road. All week long Steve and I had been talking trash to each other and I wasn’t about to let him dust me. So, in the spirit of the Southeast Running Club, I dropped the hammer and ran 5:40 pace (according to my Garmin) all the way into the water stop. When I passed him, I said, “Come on, tough guy,” and ultimately got to the water stop a minute or two ahead of him. As this was a 20-miler and my left Achilles tendon was sore, dropping the hammer to 5:40 pace probably wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but it had to be done…. I iced my Achilles afterward.

Total miles for week: 91.25
Total miles for month: 279.25
Total miles for year: 2,928.18

I am closing in on 3,000 miles and, in the back of my mind, would like to make a run at 4,000 miles for the year. Had I not missed two solid weeks of running after the Mohican 100 with a bad knee, I'd say 4,000 would be in the bag. As the situation now stand, it's going to be close, especially if I'm trashed after my 12-hour Run for Rainbow on Nov. 8.

This week, time is going to be severely limited due to a crazy work schedule and Noah’s visit to the hospital. My goals are:
  • 70+ miles
  • 5x1600 at the track (not sure what day—maybe Tuesday)
  • 8.5-mile tempo run
  • Potentially the Akron ½ Marathon with Jeff U., where I’d like to clock 1:25 or better for a nice, long tempo run. Michael Wardian will be there.

Onward and upward!


  1. Sorry to hear about the problem with your son. I wish I'd had a chance to talk with you today, but you and Paul were off so quickly, I didn't even try to catch up. Sounds like you are running very well. Go for that PR in Columbus.

  2. I'm sure Noah will be fine - think positive thoughts. I'm guessing for the CT they won't have to give him contrast since their looking at bone - so it will be a fast and easy scan. You will be allowed to be in the room while they scan him, too. (Just have to wear lead gown thing). If he's already asleep they shouldn't have to sedate him either.

    Your running is incredible - keep it up!!!