Friday, June 28, 2013


Progress so far. Green=run/action completed. Blue=vacations. Orange=races.
Marathon training has been going great. Since my initial post about my marathon training plan I tweaked the plan quite a bit, however, the current plan has been in place since I started training back in late April (I even bumped the start of training up). The main change was the reduction in amount of days running per week from five to four. SO glad I did that! In return, I bumped up the acceleration in my long run distances, so I'd hit the "upper distances" sooner and hopefully adjust quicker.

I've tweaked things once or twice, mostly to accommodate doing activities that would take place during my normal runs. However, each week I've hit four runs, three weekday and one long weekend. That will change this week however... I'll only do two weekday runs. After my 18 mile run on Saturday I felt very worn and sore. I ran 7 miles at group Monday and another 6 on Wednesday. I took yesterday off. I needed it... I was still very sore and worn down. I hadn't felt very good at all since Saturday and was hobbling around like an old man. I feel much better today (Friday) and I think the time off, coupled with an easy 12 miler tomorrow, will get me back to being fresh!

In addition to hitting all my runs each week, I've been incorporating one "fast" run into my routine most weeks. Some weeks this is booking sub 8 minute miles the last few (clocked a 7:14 the final mile of one six mile run) after starting at 8:20ish; other times it's just averaging a solid 8:05/mi over the whole six miles. I kind of like the unstructured nature of these runs... I just do them when I'm feeling like it so they aren't necessarily scheduled on a specific day. I think feeling obligated to run fast on a day when I'm not feeling like it could burn me and affect other runs, so I'm just going to keep doing this. I do need to start speedwork at some point (aka 8 x 400s) but that can wait until after the marathon. At this point it's about finishing 26.2 miles at a decent clip without flaming out.

To the right you can see the cart of my weekly run totals. The yellow star signifies where I started my marathon training. For the most part I just added one weekday run and increased my long run distance. I wasn't doing too bad of a job before that though minus the two week Vegas soon. Last week was actually the most miles in a week I had ever run at 37. That, plus the 18 miler, is one reason why I felt run down. Anyways, I've been proud of how consistent I've been at keeping to the schedule. I've found the race and training plan very motivating for getting out there and preparing myself for the Portland Marathon. Whenever I feel like crap during a run (fairly often), I just remind myself it's all for Portland and how amazing it will be to cross that finish line.

Things will get much harder in the coming weeks. I have four 20+ mile runs on the schedule plus summer heating things up. I'm going to have to get out the door early on some of these runs if I don't want to wilt away and die. The Corvallis Fall Festival Run is poorly timed and that will be interesting to see how I run that... probably shouldn't book a 5k a week before my marathon. Otherwise the challenge is just trying to stay fresh despite the long runs and hot days. Is it October yet?

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today's log of eighteen miles. Whew!
So I ran 18 miles today. It was my new longest run. I wish I could say I was more excited or something, but maybe marathon training has jaded me. I'm proud of the accomplishment, but it is just a step along the path to the full marathon. That, coupled with the fact I did the same old route, didn't lead to any euphoric feelings at the end of today's run.

If anything, I was in pain. I would say it was slightly worse than what I felt at the end of last week. Which makes sense. I gotta say I was feeling pretty decent at mile 16 today, so maybe that is a sign of progress. Not long after that though my body wanted very much to be done. I went two miles farther than I ever have gone before, so that was to be expected. I ran it in just under three hours... that is a super long time. Definitely took it a little slower today with the heat (into the high 70s) and the fact I'd be going so far.

I'm going on a trip to Sunriver next weekend with some running friends but thankfully it is a "rest" weekend for me. I'm not participating in any of the PacCrest events that are happening but plan to run 12 miles to keep my training plan up. A friend who is going already agreed to run it with me, so woot! That whole weekend should be fun, can't wait!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


So I have been operating under the impression for the last three months that I signed up for the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon on July 4th. Turns out I never signed up. I could have sworn I did! I think I started to sign up but must have got distracted or something.

Anyways, recently I was browsing the website, looking at the course in anticipation, when I double checked the registration list just to make sure. Couldn't find myself on there. Logged onto my credit card and didn't see a charge for it. Scanned my email... no confirmation. Shit! I even convinced someone at my running group to sign up saying "I'll be there, we can pace each other!" Son of a bee's wax!

Basically it is a huge race and by the time I realized it, the race had sold out (literally, less than 24 hours before I realized it and tried to correct the mistake). So anyways, that dream is down the pipe. And it sucks because not only was I saving myself up for the flat, easier course, but tons of my friends were going to be there. Literally, like over half of the people I know at running group will be there. Gah!

After I got over the fact of my fuck up, I decided I needed to do a half marathon that weekend regardless. Enter the Stars and Stripes Marathon & Half Marathon. It's actually put on by a member in my run group who does these cheaper, smaller races. I think it's going to be fun! I should be just as flat, and while the course is a 3.28 mile loop, you only have to run it four times to hit a half marathon, so it shouldn't be too repetitive. I really think I can fly on this one and am looking forward to it. So while missing Foot Traffic will suck, I think this will be fun too!

Aside from that, not much new. My marathon training is going great and I haven't missed a single run so far in 9 weeks. That's pretty good. I'll probably do a post about my training sometime soon. I have 18 miles on the calendar this weekend after my three 16 mile runs. That is going to be a slog but I know I can do it. Wish I could say I was looking forward to it, but I'm not. Oh well. Whenever I feel like not doing something I just have to remind it's all for the Portland Marathon in October and how awesome it will feel to cross that finish line.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


My work with Paint Shop Pro and Microsoft Paint.
Remember how I said I really liked that one picture but wished it were framed better? Well, I decided to do something about it. Using that picture and another picture of a different runner near the same location, I was able to work a little magic to get that picture I wish was taken.

I used the background from my picture to botch out the guy in his photo, then cut myself from one photo in a very painstaking process (or else it will look bad) and pasted myself into the new photo. Positioned myself where I wanted to be, did a little thing or two to make myself blend and TADA! Honestly, I think it looks really good. It's not high def or anything, but honestly if you didn't know I don't think you could tell.

That aside, nothing special this week. Just some normal weekday runs. Felt a little bit more sore from the half marathon I expected, but that's what I get for charging hard at a hilly course. I did sixteen miles today, and I gotta admit, it still sucks! I did this run 15/sec a mile faster than last time, so I guess I was better in that respect. I don't think my muscles really felt any better than last time though... maybe just a little. I was still very achy and sore when done. That is my third time doing 16. Come on body!

Today's splits on my sixteen mile run. Much faster than last time (very consistent too!).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Well, I have a ton of photos from this race! First a couple to set the scene and then some of me in action (I've seen worse):

One of the country roads we ran on.
The stadium finish!
More of the scenic route. The motto of the race is "Leave the city behind."
Pretty, but this is actually the start of the major hill in the race.
I make some special faces when running (I'm behind yellow shirt).
For a labored race photo, this could be worse. I think I'm turning onto the gravel.
Part of the downhill portion of the second half of the race.
Stadium sprint. Unfortunately, I appear to be blinking.
Really like this one, if only it were framed better.
Me running with the pack (like this one)!
Gravel bullshit and mixing with the 10Kers.
Grinding but determined to finish.
This could have been a really good photo... unfortunately my form looks weird.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


Right after the start of the 2011 version of the race. (Kevin Zuercher/Hillsboro Parks & Recreation)
Saturday morning I woke up around 6:45am to get ready for the Helvetia Half Marathon. My breakfast was a donut I saved from "Free Donut Day" at Krispy Kreme the day before (thanks Libbie!) and a Starbucks Frappuccino drink that was sitting in my fridge for six months and two months expired. My belly felt a little bit iffy after that combination... I could tell I would have to number two at some point, but knowing my body, it wasn't going to come before the race. I was starting to get the pre-race jitters despite committing myself to "taking it easy" on this one.

I was able to find my way to the parking lot via surface streets pretty easily for this race which is notorious for the backup onto Hwy 26 with people trying to park. Since I already picked up my bib the day before, I didn't have much to do before the race, so I just kind of wandered towards the start line and stretched out.

Before I knew it we were lining up and getting ready to start. They had pacers at this race designated by the mile time on a balloon tied to themselves. It wasn't very well organized as the 8:30 pacer was in front of the 8:00 pacer in the starting chute. The chute was kind of a cluster, they didn't really have signs to direct people to sort themselves by pace, so I went to looking at the pacers, yet they weren't in the right order.

MILES 1-3 - ANNNNND THERE GOES THE PLAN (7:21, 7:22, 7:34)

Starting line cluster. See yellow pace balloon.
Anyways, the gun sounded and off we went. Almost 2,000 were running this half marathon, less than normal (they had been averaging around 3,000 the last few years) but it was still a fuckton of people. The start was a Shamrock Run like shuffle affair. My plan was to stick to the 8:00 pacer, but she was going SUPER slow and behind the 8:30 pacer. I panicked. I didn't want to fuck around on that first mile and lose time, so I darted ahead. I certainly wasn't running a great line during that first half mile as I tried to find some open space.

Eventually I was able to get with my peeps at the pace I wanted to go and wasn't passing very many people. I settled into what I thought was an easy pace, as I wanted to give about 90% on this race. Turns out this pace on the first three miles averaged about 7:26 or so. I didn't think I was going that fast, which I think is a good sign. When I can run that fast and have it feel pretty easy that means I've been doing some good training.

Overall those first three miles were great. I felt pretty comfortable and was taking it easy in my mind but still rattling off some good times. I checked my phone about three miles in and saw my pace... at that point I decided to say "fuck it" and try to run the race a bit quicker than 8:00/mile for the first eight miles or so. I wasn't going to try and PR, but I'd run it a little harder than I planned.

MILES 4-7 - THE HILLS HIT (7:51, 8:04, 7:25, 7:36)

Like I had anticipated by looking at elevation charts, the hills weren't as bad as I thought. There was one hill that was a pain in the ass (see my 8:04 mile) but I was able to summit it without many problems. Again, I was able to pass a lot of people on these hills. Other than that one big hill there weren't many sizable ones. Yes, definitely some rolling hills, no doubt there, but nothing that was too big of a pain.

Part of the out and back along the narrow forest road.
There was a Gu station around mile 6 where I took a Gu and ate it. To that point I had been stopping at all the water stations and drinking a cup of water. Like in Corvallis, I allowed myself to slow to a brisk walk to make sure I could drink it instead of choking on it. My belly felt a little weird after the Gu but it recovered a little later with no damage.

Miles six and seven were an out and back along a little one lane road through the forest along some rolling hills. It was really pretty! It was also fun to see the steady stream of runners going in both directions for motivation. Around this time a man in his 30s pulled next to me and started to chat, saying he had been within like 15 feet of me the whole race. I joked that I didn't plan on running this fast but "it was happening, so I'll go with it." Eventually he pulled a bit ahead.

MILES 8-10 - DOWNHILL AND FLAT RELIEF (7:17, 7:18, 7:28)

Course map.
After those rolling hills in the woods we got a decent downhill mile. I attacked this fairly hard, but not as hard as I probably could of. I was still trying to not kill myself as I was in marathon training mode, not PR a half mode. I passed that man on the downhills, I seemed to handle those a little bit better than him. Eventually he passed on the flats and finished about a minute and a half ahead of me, so touche to him.

I was still feeling pretty good here but the miles were starting to wear on me a bit. I didn't taper at all for this run like I usually do for a half. I had run six hard miles on Wednesday and then another four on Thursday. So I only had one day of rest. I think if I had given myself the traditional three days of rest I would have able to really attack this part of the race, but I just didn't really have it in me. Oh well. I just didn't feel much pressure on this race, which was nice. I was running it a lot faster than i planned, but oh well.


Mile 11 was all gravel and we mixed in with the walkers of the 10K. Needless to say, I wasn't able to maintain a great line with all the walkers and the gravel was hard to run on. A relief from the pounding of the pavement, but it took a lot more work to push off on the gravel. A couple of times I landed on a big piece and had my shoe "roll" along it for a second. Anyways, it was annoying.

I was starting to feel pretty tired and I didn't push myself like I might usually do. I still kept up a hard clip but I wasn't going to kill myself over this thing. Eventually we found our way back to the pavement and then hit the final stretch.

Those last two miles seemed to take forever. At least I had the 10k field I could pass as motivation. I was starting to feel pretty tired and my joints weren't feeling great. I think the pounding of the up and down on the hills really wore on them. Eventually I got the stadium, saw Libbie who was volunteering at the race, and then hit the finish at the 50 yard line like at Corvallis (albeit in a much smaller, shittier stadium). My time was just a touch over 1:40... pretty damn good!


Picture with the stadium finish in the background.
This race is evil in the fact that after you finish you have to climb a flight of stairs out of the stadium. Luckily, I was still feeling pretty good and was able to do so fairly well, although it wasn't super pleasant. After that I went straight to get my free Helvetia Tavern burger. It was delicious! They had their secret sauce you could put on it and OMG it was amazing! Anyways, once that was done the rumbly in my tumbly got kind of serious so I did something I have never done at a race before... dropped bombs in the portable toilet. Gross, I know.

Once that was over, there wasn't really much to do. I knew a few people at the race and kept my eyes open for them but wasn't able to find them. There was just too many damn people. Between the half, 10K, and 5K there were over 3,000 runners, so it was a zoo. I felt really drained so I just decided to head home. After getting home I took a bath and then collapsed in bed and napped. I was absolutely knackered. I ended up taking a four hour nap and then going to bed at normal time that night. I was drained.

Overall, pretty freaking good for trying to take it easy. Only 40 seconds off a PR on a much hillier course and a different mindset. So yay me! I think I have a really good shot at getting another PR in a few weeks at the much flatter Foot Traffic Flat.

Official Chip Time: 1:40:29, 7:40/mile. 129/1960 overall, 15/69 M2529, 105/812 overall male.

Thursday, June 06, 2013


The board with locations for raffle ticket pickup.
Today I went to First Thursday at Fit Right NW. It was the first time I have gone to this event and it was quite the experience. They said there were over 800 people there today. Holy crap!

The run is an "urban adventure" run, meaning they reveal a large board at 6pm with various locations you can run to in order to collect raffle tickets. You have one hour to collect as many tickets as you can, then you loop back to the store and they have a giant raffle.

With the event so large, you didn't really need to look at the map, you could just follow the masses of people running about. I took a picture of the board and struck off on my own though because I wanted the "adventure" part. I ended up hitting all the ticket spots and totaled about 4 miles on my run. It wasn't quite as hard as a normal run as I went at about 9:00/mi and there was also a lot of stops for traffic or to wait in line for a ticket.

Once you got back there was a big bucket you put your tickets in and then also a bunch of vendor booths you could visit. There was also a beer line, but by the time I got back at 7pm the line was too long and I figured they'd ID me anyways (forgot to bring it). That was alright though, I scored some Muscle Milk and a VISO so I got my freebies worth.

Overall, I might go back, but I don't know. Honestly, it is just out of control big. There is a similar adventure type run at Road Runner Sports in my hometown of Tualatin that I think I'll like more. They have beer and prizes and it's in Tualatin, which I know like the back of my hand. I'll give it a try the next time they do it!

Helvetia Half course. Click to enbiggen.
On Saturday I have the Helvetia Half Marathon. It's a race I've been wanting to do for a while and I got a free entry for volunteering at the Hippie Chick Half a few weeks back. Since the course is hilly and I am running a nice, flat half marathon in a couple more weeks, I have decided to take this race easy and "enjoy myself."

And by "take it easy" I plan to line up and follow the 8:00/mile pacer for the first eight miles. Since booking it up at 250 foot hill at 8 minutes a mile is enjoyable and whatnot.

I hope to feel pretty good eight miles in running at an 8 min/mile clip. If I'm feeling spunky I plan to crank it up at that point and leave the pace group behind down the downhill and for those final five miles. Maybe I can bring those home in 7:40 or so? If am able to do that, I'd finish in about 1:43 or so, not far off my old record before shattering it in Corvallis in April. I can then try and get a PR at the Foot Traffic Flat on July 4th since this is just not a PR course.

That being said, I have to scoff a little bit at reputation about how hilly and difficult this half marathon is. Sure, there is a hill, and that hill will suck, but it isn't bad as a whole. There is that one hill, yes, but other than that, not much. Maybe the course will look different not on a computer screen, but I'm looking at those first flat 3 miles and the final flat 5 miles and thinking this course won't completely kick my ass.

Since this is a "fun run" I don't have A, B, and C goals. Although, I do have a goal. Sub 1:45. Other than getting that I plan to enjoy myself, something I have never done on a race before!

Sunday, June 02, 2013


First off, I gotta say, sixteen miles is a long ways! Those 20 mile runs are gonna suck! That aside, this sixteen mile run went surprisingly well. I didn't really start wanting to be done until about mile 12, so I only had to go four miles at that point. It's funny how you can break down the distances once you are up there to convince yourself to keep going.

Carrying the water bottle worked out pretty well and it wasn't super annoying. I ended up drinking the entire thing 3 times, so 60oz of water during my run. Seemed to work out well, I wasn't thirsty and I was able to do all my bottle filling at the one water fountain in the park. I took a really easy pace and made myself stick to that. Around 14 miles or so my muscles and joints really started to ache and I did take a short 1 minute break at mile 15 to stretch before I climbed up the gradual hill on Davies.

Overall though I think this went a lot better than my sixteen mile run two weeks before. It didn't seem as hard and I think I recovered a little bit faster. So that is good news! Turns out this was a really good sixteen mile route from my house, so I'll probably use it for sixteen milers in the future. Honestly this run was really encouraging.

Next weekend I have a half marathon. Despite wanting to run it all out, I think I'll take it easy and more or less run it "for fun."  I am not going to PR on the course next weekend, it is very hilly, so that is out the window. Plus, I have another half in a couple weeks that is super flat and a very good PR course. So if I want to try and PR again, that is the race. I think I am going to run this one semi-hard (ha) but not try to PR. Shoot for a 1:45 or so.

Anyways, more on that next week. Also, a HUGE congrats to Libbie, who ran her first marathon today and finished in 5:23, keeping a steady pace the whole way. Awesome! :)