Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Half-Marathon to Marathon Plan

I ran the Illinois half-marathon last Saturday in a time of 1:40:02. Not great, but not too bad either. For my fitness level, it was encouraging. And it predicts about a 3:30 full marathon. I'm shooting for a sub-3:30 to qualify for Boston. If I qualify, I'd like to actually get into Boston too--that will mean beating the qualifying standard by about 3 minutes. So, for someone in the 50-54 male age group, I need a 3:27 or better. Doable!

I have 89 days (about 3 full months) to train for the Jack and Jill's Downhill Marathon on July 31. How do I spend those 3 months?

According to Coach Jeff, here is the plan:
  • 2 workouts of 2 loops of Clinton trail (10-mile trail loop) separated by 3 weeks: to get you use to the marathon time on the feet and the downhills.
  • 1 workout consisting of a 10 mile or half-marathon RACE 4-6 weeks minimum before marathon race.
  • Tempo run of 5 miles or less: max of 1 per 3 weeks.
  • None of the above for 3 weeks (rest and recovery after half-marathon race).
  • NO speed work. Period.
  • Other daily runs: whatever, as long as they have NO focus. Run easy and under control. 
I guess that plan sounds OK. It doesn't call for seriously structured weeks or days. Just hit a few milestone workouts and keep the rest under control. I tend to either over-plan and over-stress hard workouts (and often get injured or sick) _or_ I don't do anything related to a plan and just haphazardly (randomly) run as I see fit with no guidance. Maybe Jeff's "plan" is perfect.

This Jack and Jill Downhill Marathon will be my brothers first attempt at a full marathon. It'll be my first real "go for Boston" attempt. Maybe my last too. Fortunately, this marathon is a rails to trails dirt course. Slightly slower than roads, but easier on the legs and more scenic. And a downhill course (which means faster). If training goes well, and the weather is good, and I don't get sick or injured...this is my best chance at a BQ time. Can I actually qualify for Boston on a certified trail course? This trail ultrarunner certainly hopes so! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Leicester City Football Club Wins Title!

Leicester City won the English Premier League title today! Unbeliveable. They were 5,000-1 odds to win at the beginning of the season. Not 100-1 or 1000-1, but 5000-1. Last year at this time they were in last place in the league and almost guaranteed to be relegated to the lower league (basically, they would be kicked out of the premier league). They managed a couple of late wins to _just_ survive in the premier league. Last place...to first place...in one year! Biggest sports upset in the history of sport. Any sport. Congratulations to LCFC.

To put this in perspective, think abut American sports. Would you bet on the 76ers to win the NBA title next year?  How about the Phillies to win the World Series?  Browns to win the Super Bowl? That's the magnitude of this Leicester City turn-around story. Crazy.

The club has been around for 132 years and never won any top-flight league title. Wow. Again, congratulations to the Foxes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Revised Illinois Half-Marathon Goals

Now that the race, the Illinois Half-Marathon, is only 3 days away, it's safe to discuss realistic goals. First off, there will be NO new personal bests at this race for me. None. Not even close. Weather looks great, but my training has been way off. Fortunately, no injuries, just a series of bad colds. This race will be a celebration of health and happiness. And a start to my marathon training for the July 31 Jack and Jill's Downhill Marathon.

So, what finish time do I expect?  If I run well, I'm looking at 8:00 pace, so around a 1:45 finish. I think it's a bit of a stretch, but possible. That's a far cry from my 1:32 or better I thought was possible back in December. Oh well, you gotta go with the flow. Do what you can on race day.

Only 95 days to the marathon where I'll attempt a BQ time. My goal for this half-marathon is simply a solid training run at a steady-state tempo pace. If that is 8:00 per mile, fine. 7:50, awesome. 8:10, OK. I want to wake up on Sunday morning feeling ready to tackle marathon training.

PS: No matter how slow I run, I will beat Gregg and the Fat Kid. My two old running buddies are going down!

Friday, April 22, 2016

10 Years Without My Sister

My sister Sandy passed away on this date back in 2006 after a terrible car accident. Hard to believe it's been 10 years. I still miss her. Today, Earth Day, is not a celebration of her death, but rather a celebration of her life. Especially fiting since she enjoyed nature and the oudoors so much. I signed up for my favorite race today...Howl at the Moon 8-Hour ultra. What better way to celebrate life and healthy living? As usual, I always take this day off from work too--my personal holiday to remember my dear sister. At least now she has Prince for company. May they both rest in peace. 

So on this Earth Day, do your environmental responsibilities: reduce, recycle, reuse. And head out for a run. Remember your loved ones. And appreciate life.