Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Road To Redemption{ And San Francisco} Starts Here......

There's an old adage in running that you are only as good as your last last race was the Nov 19th Philadelphia Shit Show......sorry I meant Philadelphia Marathon and while not wishing to continue that diatribe let it be stated" for the record" that the  bitter disappointment of that race has "fueled a fire" inside me for the last few months, as John Lydon once sang "anger is an energy" and often in running I feel I run best when I either  have a chip on my shoulder.....or a point to prove......sometimes both......

January was a bitch to train in given I lost the opening two weeks to a two week long sub zero arctic blast but slowly but surely I got back out there to log semi reasonable miles
Febuary was much better in terms of conditions and miles logged,mid week runs became 12 milers I was no stranger to longer runs over 13 and 16 miles on the weekends and when March arrived I went w/ one 17 miler and one 8 mile tempo run.
Come March 25th and race day at the Philly Love Run 1/2 marathon I was confident of a 1.30 finish,7 min miles would get home in 1.31 so I "hedged my bets slightly" that I could better Septembers Rock & Roll 1/2 marathon of 1.30.16.
In the realm of the "once bitten,twice shy" saying I made sure the "cock up of biblical proportions"  that screwed me in the Marathon  wasn't  repeated,I arrived on the Ben Franklin Parkway at 6.30am an hour b4 gun time and even though it was "a bit taters" out there at that time {32 degrees} I made sure I was  stripped down to race gear by 6.55am and my gear bag safely on the UPS Gear Bag truck and in my corral a full half hour b4 the start.
Was it cold?.....fuck yeah it was cold but I thought "warm thoughts" and relied on the fact I'd gone w/ the correct running attire for a 7.30am start at the end of March,Thermal hat, Thermal gloves,long sleeved running shirt under my Kenya running vest,three quarter length compression tights under my shorts,only my calves were exposed to the "elements" and even thought my first few steps at the horn felt like my feet were two ice blocks and opening few miles even w/ thermal gloves my fingers felt numb I was "good to go"

Given the Blue corral behind the elites and fastest runners I couldn't have asked for a clearer start down the Parkway and as I made my way up the JFK Parkway I logged a 5.58 opening mile.....
According to "my detractors" last time out I should've known my pace was too brisk,unlike last time out "shock horror probe" mile markers  in  clear view, a sub 6 felt comfortable so I saw no reason to back off
6.01 for mile two,two miles in a 2 mins ahead of the scheduled pace I'd set myself,granted 11 more miles to go but  this was something along the lines of my 30th half marathon since Leicester way back in 1985......#notmyfirstrodeo
Around City Hall,down Market St to 5th and back up Arch St I now clocked a 6.32 mile 18.31, still "playing w/ house money", I missed the 4 mile marker{probably going back up the Parkway} but thanks to Garmin I can confirm it was a 6.43 mile for 25.14

Out along West River Drive I passed the 5 mile marker in 6.44 for  31.58 at 7 min mile pace I'd have been looking at 35 mins so providing it didn't go "tits up /pear shaped" over the last 8 miles I was on for a "banner day"
At this stage I began to focus on the runners ahead of me using the old "reel one in each mile" ploy, sure I was getting passed by other runners at this stage but at least I wasn't in "no mans land"
BOO!!!! 7.01 for mile 6 and 38.59 still 3  mins ahead of schedule,back down to sub 7s at mile 7 w/ a 6.58 for 45.17
Heading towards Strawberry Mansion bridge there was a pack of us so I drafted off the back of them,as the "proverbial Boy Scout" I had done my homework/research on the course and knew we were going over Strawberry Mansion bridge.....which meant a sharp incline, I guess  a runner behind me wasn't aware of this "wrinkle" in the race and exclaimed a loud audible "fuck!!!" when  he saw the field heading up the incline
Said incline probably resulted in my slowest mile split of the day a still respectable 7.12 for 52.29 at mile 8 as we looped around the  Robin Hood Dell East venue and back across Strawberry Mansion bridge..... not  because I work at Einstein I know that "what goes up,must come down" and sure enough a down ramp off of Strawberry Mansion bridge back to West River Dr
6.43 split 59.12 for mile 9 still over three mins in hand but also w/ my next race a 15k{9.3 miles} an endorsement that going sub 60 is not a pipe dream.

Making the turnaround and now heading back towards the finish at the foot of the Art Museum steps along W.River Dr I symbolically rolled my sleeves up b4 we hit mile 10,one I was finally warm enough to do so,two we were now getting to the business end of things....and I meant business!
6.52 split 66.04 having passed the 11 and 12 mile markers on the way out to the turnaround I had a visual of were they'd be on the inbound section and continued to drive myself towards a possible sub 1.30
 I was a little in "no mans land" to be fair but also very much "in the zone" all I had to do was keep doing what I'd been doing thus far
6.57 for mile 11  1.13.01 little by little a couple of runners ahead of began to go backwards,I knew how they felt in September at the Rock & Roll 1/2 I was going "gangbusters" until Falls bridge and then the final 4 miles began to take a toll on me,interestingly in this campaign I had  a 17 miler under my belt prior to the 1/2,in September my first 17 miler was post race,perhaps why I felt strong and based on mile splits consistent as fuck

6.48 at mile 12, 1.19.49....or thereabouts as I realize that the 100ths of seconds probably make my actual time closer to 1.22,infact I recall seeing 1.21.47 on my Garmin but still inside the 1.24 7 min mile pace would've had me.....and only a mile to go,my feet weren't failing me now as I recalled hearing Jen Rhines once at a PDR Expo say inside the final 2 miles you have to give it everything you've got......cos it's only 2 miles
I saw one more runner coming back to me and  under the Spring Garden St bridge I went by him,I was going to be close to 1.30 so "pedal to the metal"....
A 6.40 mile and 1.28.03 on my Garmin......200m to go this is well and truly "Pale Kenyan Time"  and while I joke about being 'Eeyore" at work cos I "do all the Donkey work" in my running w/ 200m to go be it track,road or cross country I'm kickin' like a mother fuckin' Donkey.....
Clipped one last runner b4 the finish line to cross the line in 1.29.03 off of 6.42 mile pace....
132nd overall,110th in the men's field      HOWEVER third in the 50-54 age group which means more race swag for the Pale Kenyan......not bad for a runner who "can't judge pace??" eh

The medal I won today is #175 in my career,I need 25 more to get to 200 and hopefully as long as my body holds up I'm "all in" to make that happen
Does today make up for Nov 19th?,nothing will make up for that,however b4 I consign  today to" I'm only as good as my last race" I am going to savour the performance and bask in it's afterglow....till Tuesday when I begin to re set my sights on the next race a 15k,I said going into today 7 min mile pace was the target w/ the hopes that come the 15k and then the next two subsequent 1/2 marathons in May and June I was down to 6.30 pace,7.00 to 6.30 is a huge drop....but off of 6.42 pace today not unrealistic and that's the motivation when the next phase of "Road To Redemption" kicks off Tuesday afternoon

Monday, March 19, 2018

Getting Down To Brass Tacks Time.....

As the saying goes "we're at the business end of things" my final week b4 Sundays 2018 race debut a half marathon at the Love Run here in Philly.
I did throw in a 17 miler on Sat Mar 10th,the significance of that was last September when I ran the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in Philly I didn't manage to get upto 17 miles till after the half, this time I'm ahead of that curve
While my focus has been on Sun Mar 25th and said Love Run 1/2 marathon I have been looking at two bigger pictures,the reintroduction of the 8 mile Tempo Run this week went a long ways towards both but I'm not ready to divulge what the second bigger picture is.....just yet,the big picture is obviously July's San Francisco marathon.

Thur Mar 15th
Easy 12 miles,following Sundays epic long run over 17 miles{2.11.59 off of 7.46 mile pace} I backed off of a 13 mile recovery run Sunday due to a double header of 7 aside football that nite,subsequently on Monday my legs were still suitable trashed to not go for a run......sometimes at my age I feel it's not so much what I do on my rest days as it's what I don't do and giving myself a complete recovery day felt prudent
I hedged my bets Tuesday as a third Nor'easter was predicted for Philly....thankfully we got off scott free and while Wednesday was an option I opted to catch the second half of Barcelona vs Chelski game,no excuses Thursday out for a 12 miler.
W/ the clocks going forward last Sunday I knew I'd finish this run in daylight,even at 6.40pm.....a far cry from my late December/early January runs that were shrouded in abject darkness by 4.50pm.
Psychologically that makes a huge difference and while Spring isn't "official" till Tue Mar 20th and lets face it March tends to be a bear of a month at the best of times we're not out of the woods or the grip of "Old Man Winter" just yet but his grip is loosening.

Sat Mar 17th
8 mile tempo,I'd been "threatening" to reintroduce the 8 mile tempo run around the Art Museum Loop along Kelly & West River drives for a few weeks now,better late than never period but it will also help transition into the almost two year hiatus from Intervals on the track that I hope come mid April will along w/ the tempo run become a weekly staple.
Due to an 8.15am Spurs game and post match podcast it was mid afternoon b4 I ventured over to the Art Museum Loop by which time the temps had gone up considerably from when I left home at 7am to hit the bar for the Spurs game, I kept my gloves on just because I have poor circulation in my fingers but did roll my sleeves up a tad b4 beginning the counterclockwise from Lloyd Hall up Kelly Dr,over Falls Bridge,down W.River Dr and finishing in front of the Art Museum steps route.
Having last done a 8 mile tempo run in early Dec post marathon I wasn't sure what to expect of myself or how realistic 7 min miles/56.00 was....but given I hope to clock 7 min miles Sunday albeit over 13 miles not 8 there was no better time like now to throw caution to the wind and have at it.......
6.17 6.56 7.06 7.03 7.18 7.30 7.16 6.55 =56.21 off of 7.03 mile pace.....
Chuffed is as good as any adjective to describe my reaction post run,sure I came up a tad short but what would I have gained aimed for 7.15 mile pace and a 58.15 time?
Bummed about he 7.30 split on mile mile 6  but that gives me something to work on the next several weeks

Sun Mar 18th
13 mile recovery run,w/ another 7 aside footie game on my slate Sunday evening going longer seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom so a nice easy recovery run out and back along Kelly Dr to the 6.5 mark at technically I'm in taper mode a week out from my race.
Along those lines this coming week will be once again dictated by the weather......another  Nor'easter/Coastal Storm is predicted for Tuesday which if it hits could bollocks up my Tue/Wed/Thur easy 12/8mile tempo/12 mile recovery plans so we'll have to sit tight and see what the weather brings ....or doesn't bring.

Saturdays successful tempo run endorsed my belief that a 1.30 1/2 marathon off of 7 min mile pace is doable and not a pipe dream all I ask of the Running Gods between now and Sunday is decent weather,no illness/injury worries and ZERO cock ups w/ pre race check in,bag check and mile markers.......NOT that much to ask is it?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mirror Mirror

Back to back three day/40mpw w/ 12,12 and 16 milers,sadly an unforgiving weekend a temperamental laptop put the kybosh on a post last such issues this weekend

Tue Feb 27th
12 Miles Two things of note on an otherwise run of the mill 12 mile run,50 degrees so shorts and short sleeves again{shades not an option given it's 6.20pm when I'm done and there's only a glimmer of daylight}
Since this would be my final run in Feb{Spurs game on Wed,very little trumps a Spurs game!} it brought my monthly total mileage to 128,not too shabby,I began the month at 10 milers and worked my way up to 16s w/ 12 my mid week run du jour

Sat Mar 3rd
12 Miles I had to hedge my bets on Thursday it looked like it was about to piss down and I wasn't willing to risk getting caught in the rain period,muchless potentially jeopardize getting sick so close to the Love Run,last Saturday on my 16 mile run between 7.5 & 9.5 miles it rained but at 50 degrees it was something I could work around,although getting out of my soaked running gear and into a hot shower was paramount once inside the front door followed by a steaming mug of hot Cider.
Friday was a doozie weather wise,rain that turned to snow complete w/ strong winds,that said ever the Boy Scout I set my alarm for 6.30am,looked out the window said "fuck it,let's have the bastard!!" and promptly dressed,stretched and out the door just gone 7am.
33 degrees but not too uncomfortable,windy but sunny,however w/ slush underfoot not to mention tree branches strewn throughout the out and back to Columbia bridge it felt more important to look where I was treading....not look cool doing it,nowt cool about a runner on the side of the sidewalk bemoaning a tangle w/ fallen timber
The biggest challenge seemed to be avoiding falling snow and ice off the tree branches that hadn't'd take a lot to damage my bonce but even so I wasn't wishing it upon myself
W/ a slightly later Spurs kick off..or a Sunday game I needn't have been up and at it so early but a 10am kick off dictated a 7am run...that said something tres satisfying returning home at 8.35am knowing the run is in the books!

Sun Mar 4th
16 Miles Having "gone long" last Saturday over 16 I saw no reason not to do so again this weekend
Ironically out the door around 8.35am.....24 hours after finishing yesterdays run,I'm clearly motivated not just for the Love Run 1/2 marathon in three weeks time but for the season,my entries to the Hot Chocolate 15k on Apr 7th and the Indy Mini Marathon May 5th are already taken care of and providing a return flight from Indy to Philly that afternoon can be booked I'll have at it w/ the Broad St Run the next morning,it's all part of the #roadtoredemption mind set as July's San Francisco marathon is very much my target race for the season.
Completed the loop in a respectable 2.03.40.....six seconds down on Saturdays  time....however last Saturday I wasn't required to circumnavigate not one but two downed trees on West River Drive which clearly slowed me,I was tempted to hurdle the second one but couldn't be sure what I was landing on once over it so caution won over valor today!
My splits were:7.20-6.51-7.52-7.47-7.45-7.42-7.46-7.54-7.42-7.35-7.27-7.39-7.48-8.16-8.10-8.06 for 7.44 mile pace....a second down on last week!!

As I transition in March and Spring it's time to reintroduce the weekly 8 mile Tempo run into my weekly rotation,hopefully this coming Thursday the mindset for the Love Run is 7 min mile pace for a stab at 1.30.....after that at Hot Choc 15k,Indy Mini Marathon,Broad St Run and Odyssey Half I want 6.30 mile pace heading into San Francisco,come mid May I expect weekly trips to the track for interval work plus the tempo run and frankly if I'm already at 16 miles at the start of March and eyeballin' a 17 miler Saturday it won't be too long b4 Sunday 20 milers are the norm,the sting from Novembers Philly Marathon debacle/cock up has fired me up and I aint quittin' till I level the score...