Monday, November 8, 2010

3:25:41 -- A New Personal Best!!!

Well, its over, and I did it. When I started this fall's adventure, I was looking for a 3:25 marathon time. My target pace was 7:50 per mile or 4:52 per kilometre, which would bring me across the finish line in 3:25:14 or 3:25:22 depending on which measure you used. But I would have been happy with anything faster than my previous best of 3:29:01 achieved in Virginia Beach over 2 years ago.

Everything went according to plan. I was relatively relaxed going into the run. Coach Brian and I had split a litre of wine with our spaghetti dinner on Saturday night, and had a couple of other beers during the day, so we each got a good night's sleep. Jenny, who was battling a bit of a cold, unfortunately didn't sleep so well, but was able to support us both in spite of not feeling 100%.

Brian was battling some knee pain in previous long runs, so we decided that he'd run with me for the first 3 miles, just to keep my speed in check, and then join me for the last 8 miles. While we were targeting 7:50/mile, we started off with the first three miles looking for 8:00 per mile which we achieved easily. We met Jenny at a corner in the route and he left me on my own. By the time I saw them again at the halfway mark, I was pretty much bang-on my target time -- just ahead of target by about 20 seconds or just 1 second per kilometre!

While the Road2Hope Marathon is a significant net downhill, the first 13 miles had lots of gradual ups and downs. So I was happy to see the top of the Red Hill Parkway where I knew it would be a significant downhill for 6 or 7 kilometres.

During the time on the Parkway, I let my speed increase a bit, from 4:52/k target to no faster than 4:30 per kilometre. So by the time I found Jenny and Brian at the 29K mark, I was about 2 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of schedule -- yet my quads weren't too beat up from the downhill running. But I knew that the worst was certainly yet to come.

Brian and I kept a very consistent pace for the next 6 kilometres. At the 35K mark, with just 7.2K to go, I was starting to fade -- and that is where Brian kicked into gear to keep me focused -- head up and concentrating on my stride, not my watch. I kept struggling and with about 4 kilometres to go told him just to not let me walk. And if the wind was causing me issues, I'd just shout "wind!" and he'd work to get in a position to block it for me.

The toughest part was the last kilometre. We had to pass by the finish line and go around the water slide in Centennial Park and then return to the finish. I was really struggling and really, really, really wanted to walk. But with Brian's encouragement, I kept going. With 200m to go he told me to give it a final kick and I started to pass a couple of other runners. But one runner wasn't going to give up without a fight, so we ended up racing across the finish in a full-out sprint.

Chip time: 3:25:41. Personal Best. Boston Qualifier by over 5 minutes. I'm now a '3:25 guy'!

Very happy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"The hay is in the barn..."

...and I don't think it has gone mouldy.

Metaphorically speaking, "the hay was in the barn" after I did my longest training run 3 weeks ago. There is little, if any, muscle that is going to be built while tapering. The goal is to "keep the hay from going mouldy" by doing gradually shorter runs and let the muscle damage heal.

So today's tempo run wasn't about speed or endurance -- it was just about keeping me from going stale.

It went very well. Coach Brian said 5 to 6 miles, so I chose 5. And he said no more than 2 at 'tempo pace' (7:30/mile), and so that is what I did. Here are my splits:


At all target paces, I had to slow myself down. The first three miles I simply couldn't seem to go as slow as the 8:20/mile pace I was targeting.

Sooooo... I'm ready. We'll see how it all goes on race day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Last 'Speed Work' - 2 x 2 Miles...

I didn't get a chance to talk with Coach Brian since I returned from Florida, so Jenny suggested I should be doing 'speed work' of 2 repeats x 2 miles each, at marathon pace (7:50/mile). So I went out today in the 6 degree C. temperature -- and had a great run. I took a 2 minute break between repeats, but I certainly didn't need it. My splits were:


for an average of 7:44. It took a while to find the rhythm, but once I found it, I was able to cruise along with little varation in pace. If anything, I had to get myself to slow down as a couple of times I found myself creeping up to the 7:30/mile range. The cool weather was definitely nice.

Gotta love the taper!