Friday, January 31, 2014


This is going to be so awesome. I hope I am awake enough to enjoy it! Shot from the first few miles over the causeway.
This is a really hard one to figure out. The main issue with this race is going to be the lack of sleep. The gun goes off at 6:15am EST, which means it will be 3:15am to my body. We have to be in the corral by 5:55am (2:55). Which means I am looking at a 1:30am PST wake up call. My body is used to going to bed around midnight. Not good!

My flight on Friday doesn't leave until 1:20pm. That was the only flight I could afford that was coupled with a reasonable departure time on Monday, so I took it. I get into Miami around 11:30pm Friday night. I should hopefully go straight to bed to try and prepare for the race. Maybe I'll wake up at 3am Friday morning and force myself to stay awake before my flight so I'm truly tired that night. Sleeping in doesn't seem like the best idea!

Course map. Should be very scenic and fun!
Saturday, I don't know what to do. On one hand, the night before the final night before the race is apparently the most important night of sleep, but at the same time, I don't want to be sleeping in when I need to wake up the next morning so early. I think I'll shoot for about 5 hours of sleep, so maybe a 6am wake up call. It's only a half marathon, I'd be fucked if it was the full, but since it's only a half I think I can do that on less that full sleep.

On Saturday we'll need to go to packet pickup and then keep things low key. My friend ended up not really training and is basically going to have to walk the thing. Had I known that, I would have never done this trip, but I guess that is besides the point now. I'll try to enjoy this short vacation as a small reprieve from the Oregon winter!

Sunday morning we'll wake up and do the race! He should be done by 9:30am or so, at which point I figure we'll grab a bite to eat and then back to his place to crash. Take a nice nap and then charge up for the Super Bowl that night. Probably drink a lot and celebrate the half marathon and the fact we have the day off Monday. On Monday, my flight isn't until 4:45pm, so I'll get some beach time before having to head home. Arrive in Portland at 10pm and go to work the next day.

OMG, yes, yes, yes.
The half marathon course looks really interesting! They definitely picked the best "half" of the course to have the halfers do. Should be really scenic, crossing Biscayne Bay over the causeway, then run along Ocean Drive, then back over the Venetian Islands to downtown Miami for the final two miles. Miles 8-10 I actually already ran during my long run on my trip to Miami last September. Hopefully the course will help propel me despite my time zone issues.

Overall, not sure if I want to set goals for this race because it is really going to depend on how I feel. Should the situation be different and I was able to adjust time wise and be 100% ready for the race I definitely think I could PR. The course is very flat and the weather at 6:15-7:50am is still fairly cool. However, that will not be the case. So we'll play it by ear. I'd like to finish with a sub eight average. Otherwise, I am not doing to put undue pressure on myself so I can just enjoy the experience.

Anyways, I'll have a report when I get back!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Miami Half Marathon research (Subway
Surfers is in Miami right now). Hopefully
there are fewer trains to dodge?
I've noticed a change in my legs and recovery over the last few weeks/months. I am not sure exactly when it all started and I cannot pinpoint it to any specific action.

After a run I'd often be sore the next day, especially if it was a hard effort or a long run. Sometimes this soreness would linger for days, especially after a long run, and affect other runs. I'd be hobbling around like an old man and wouldn't be able to run hard for a few days.

The solution to this problem for me was always to begin foam rolling. I haven't done that yet, because I can't bring myself to pay $25 for a piece of foam. However, I have started doing the following things in the last few weeks/months:

1) Drink more. Water, that is. I drink about 20oz before bed each night. Maybe being better hydrated helps my muscles flush the soreness?

2) Stretch more. Stretching after a run definitely can help reduce soreness. I have tried to do this more but am still not 100%. I am much better about it after a long run though when my legs are screaming. Often I take a hot bath and then stretch after a long run.

3) Self massage. Find myself doing this after long runs a lot. Try to do some of the job of the foam roller with my own hands. Often I do this in the bath after a long run and then stretch after.

4) Started taking a multivitamin because I saw gummy ones at the store and they looked good. Maybe something in there is helping?

5) Started training harder. Maybe my legs have just finally adjusted to recovering faster. Now that I am marathon training again I'm doing much more speedwork. Maybe my legs have finally decided to adapt.

While the soreness is gone, my muscles still definitely get tired. If I run 16 miles on Saturday, when I go to do my run on Monday my legs aren't doing to feel springy and fresh. I'm not sore, which is a huge improvement, but they still have lingering fatigue. However, this is much easier to deal with and very common when you are training. Your legs aren't fresh at mile 20 of a marathon either, but you still have to run on them!

I'll have a post previewing the Miami Half Marathon this weekend soon. Overall, the time zone change is going to be really hard in such a short window (race starts at 3am my time), so I won't set any lofty goal there and just look to enjoy myself!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


This morning I woke up at 7am to run with the Coach Jim group at 8am. Waking up that early to run is NOT fun! However, I got my ass out there and did it, so yay me.

The run ended up being 17 miles, not the 16 I was planning for. Guess they threw an extra one in there for fun. Overall I was able to slog through it. Wasn't feeling the best and we ran up Mt. Tabor, which was hard. I did it though! Alejandro and I ran with the 3:40 group instead of the 3:30 group since he has been in Costa Rica for two weeks and thought he was out of shape. And of course he did way better than me.

Only bad part was today is the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5k. I wanted to try and beat last year's time, but no way that was happening with the long run today. Luckily, it's okay to run your 3.1 miles in the course of a longer run, so that's what I'll count. I ran five Runs for Cookies 5k races today! ;)

Our pace was very casual today, so I'll have to plug in 30:20 as my time. That was the fastest 5k period on the long run according to Endomondo. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow!

Friday, January 24, 2014


Quick recap of this week:

Monday: "Easy" run. Did the seven mile rollercoaster at PRC run group. Ended up at 8:38/mile, which isn't easy up those hills. Second half was definitely faster than the first half too. While sort of fast for the terrain, I didn't think it was fast enough to count as a tempo or marathon pace run.

Wednesday: Recovered very well from my Monday run. Ended up doing a five mile tempo run at PRC. Splits were 7:42, 7:36, 7:35, 7:08, and 6:53. I believe that 6:53 is the fastest mile I have run in a non-competition. Felt pretty easy too, didn't even think I was pushing it quite that hard. Good run, felt not so hot at the beginning but then I loosened up and it was pretty fun!

Friday: Did my 10k loop at my house at marathon pace. Ended up at 7:57/mile average over the hilly course. Need to work on hitting my splits more evenly. First two miles were 7:55, but then rattled off a couple 8:11s and an 8:02. Finished with a 7:42 sixth mile and 7:00 pace over the last .22 miles to bring the overall average below eight.

Yes, the course is hilly but the splits don't make sense. One of the 8:11 miles was the part of the course where I should have been faster. Since it was dark out I only checked my watch once or twice per mile. I didn't want to obsess over the pace, but I would like to really dial the effort in. Should that happen, I think splits would optimally be like 8:00, 7:55, 7:55, 8:10, 8:00, and 7:55 based on the terrain.

Tomorrow: Sixteen miles with Coach Jim! Was supposed to have Friday off, but shit came up on Thursday so I had to move my rest day. Won't be quite as fresh as I normally would be. We are running up Mount Tabor too... ugh.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Completely random intervals. They look kind of similar you say? Kindly GFY. Steps per minute (cadence) is above.
Last Thursday I did my first ever fartlek. A fartlek run is supposed to be a totally random, unscripted interval run of varied distance and pace. I tried my best to make it unscripted, however, the son of an engineer came out a little in me! Okay, it's all me, I'm not very creative and I like structure, so the fartlek was actually kind of hard. During the run I was planning my next move in my mind so it would look like it was random and I didn't plan anything. Oy.

Overall it was a lot of fun though! Some of it was truly random and I ended up running farther than I thought in a couple cases. I thought I would just run to the end of the street or something but I would end up running a street or two further. On most of the hills I ended up doing my jogging portions, but not all of them. All told the overall pace was below eight minutes a mile, and I'd say it was about half run, half jog, so in the end it was a super good workout. And honestly, now that I look at it, the fast running portions were definitely varied in length.

Friday was a day off to prepare myself for my long run on Saturday. Sixteen miles were on the schedule. Oh boy. I was going to go to the Coach Jim group, but I had the opportunity to sleep in Saturday morning and had nothing else planned until that evening. The weather forecast showed 32 degrees until noon, when it was supposed to suddenly warm up and be 50 by 2pm. My alarm went off at 7am and I looked out the window. Foggy, cold wonderland. Eff that.

I ended up waking up for good around 11:30am and farting around until 1pm when I finally went outside. While the fog cleared and the sun poked through (especially in the second half of my run), it never really warmed up like they predicted. Maybe 40 degrees at the most. I was a little cold on the run. I got about a half mile down the road when I remembered that I forgot nipple protection. Crap. Instead of turning back to get it, I just decided to play it by ear.

My sixteen mile route on Saturday. Pit stop at mile 12.
By about mile two I had convinced myself there was no way I could survive 16 miles without getting hideously bloody nipples. So I decided to cut my route short so I would swing home after 10-12 miles so I could apply some Body Glide. Those first twelve miles ended up being mostly in Fanno Creek (drained after last week) and they were great. I got back home after 12 miles feeling like gold.

After lubricating my chest I went back out for a "short" four mile loop. Most painful four miles EVER. Okay, maybe not, but they sucked! The first mile was great but then ALL the energy left my body. My whole body was tingly, and I could swear my left arm was super tingly (heart attack zomg). I felt completely drained and exhausted. Reminded me of the last few miles of the marathon. Honestly, those final three miles took FOREVER. I want to quit so many times, even convinced myself to a couple, but my legs never stopped moving. I ended up getting them done even though it was super hard.

Once the run was over my legs hurt for a couple hours. A dull throbbing pain. Felt like I ran twenty. Don't know why I was so exhausted! Yes, it was the most miles in a week I had done in a long time, but not by that much! Weird. Honestly, I think the five minute break to run upstairs to Body Glide myself had something to do with it. My body switched out of "run" mode thinking it was done. While tired, my legs feel pretty good today compared with how they felt yesterday.

Week two of marathon training begins tomorrow. Week one was a success!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I believe this is the first running related dream that I remember. The other night I had a dream I was running the Umpqua River Marathon. I remember feeling that this race was going to be really special since it was down at the Umpqua and also that I was super prepared and excited to run it.

Oh, you know what, it's not the first running dream I remember, I now remember one were I was running through a park and the turns were really confusing. Squirrel!

Anyways, the race was later in the day but for some reason I lost track of time and I was late. Then began the frustrating task of finding my running clothes/shoes/etc. in typical dream fashion where everything is just fucked up. Meanwhile the race is about to start. Ugh! Funny because the "scramble" was taking place at my parents' house in Tualatin.

The start of training went well. Monday I ran the hilly seven mile rollercoaster at PRC at 9:00/mile. Yesterday I set out to do a marathon pace run on the five mile loop and ended up running about 7:45/mile average, which was a little fast. I guess better a little fast than a little slow. Tonight I think I'm going to attempt a fartlek run.

Monday, January 13, 2014


My route Sunday, improvised after hitting impossibly flooded trail south of Scholls Ferry Road.
This weekend I did my long run on Sunday instead of Saturday, which ended up being very advantageous. Normally I have Brandon on Sunday so I run on Saturday, but this weekend I was invited to a watch party for the Broncos playoff game on Sunday so I switched the days around. Good thing too, because it absolutely poured on Saturday and was extremely windy. So many runners on my Facebook feed were complaining about how terrible it was out there.

Sunday didn't look much better, the forecast said 100% chance of rain at 10am and 11am, but it ended up not really even sprinkling. I was expecting a wet run and instead it was nice and dry and the sun even came out toward the end. Overall it was a really good run and I felt strong the entire fourteen miles. Two of my fastest miles were 12 and 14, and that last 14th mile was the fastest of the whole day. Really set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

The route I was going to run ended up being flooded from the rain the day before. I should have realized the Fanno Creek Trail was going to be terrible, but I guess I didn't think it would be as bad as it was. After finding creative ways around a couple very large puddles shortly after crossing Scholls Ferry there was a "puddle" (aka lake) that basically said "Thou shalt not pass." It was crazy, it had to be at least a foot deep across the entire span of the trail/park. So at that point I turned around run back toward my place. I ended up just running most my normal 10k loop to get the rest of the miles in to hit 14.

Today I officially start my marathon training plan. The last two Mondays I've hit the rollercoaster seven mile route hard (7:56 and 7:53/mile). My body feels up for that again today but my partner in crime, Alejandro, is in Costa Rica for two weeks. I am not sure if I want to bust ass alone... but maybe. I'll play it by ear. My goal is to run the seven mile route once a week (I can do five the other group run) and it doesn't necessarily have to be the "fast" run so we'll see!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


My Vancouver Marathon training plan. Similar to Portland and I will be flexible with the weekday workouts.
After I realized how close the Vancouver BC Marathon actually was and posted about it, I immediately had to create a training plan. What I came up with is pretty similar to my Portland Marathon training plan. Weekly mileage tops out at 38 and averages 33. I'll get three 20 mile runs in, the same as with Portland (and the first two will be with the Coach Jim group, so I'll have company).

Many training plans out there will have you running more miles with weekly totals in the 50s. I believe those are good plans if you are an experienced marathoner or you have the ability to recover very quickly from high mileage. I am neither at the current moment. I believe this plan is the best for my body at this point in time.

I think back to training with the Portland Marathon Clinic. One guy we trained with was doing his first marathon and was really going all out doing 50 and 60 mile weeks. When I told him my schedule he seemed surprised. He was the athletic type and made those runs look easy. Come race day he completely explodes at mile 18 and I finish well ahead of him. It's all about getting to race day healthy and rested with the ability to run 26.2 miles at a good clip.

This plan will be super flexible. I've put down the mileage and workout type for each day but those will change for sure. Basically the goal is to get 17-18 miles in during the week with a mix of easy, tempo, race pace, and interval/fartlek runs. Feel crappy on Monday? Fine, do five easy miles and rest up for Wednesday and Thursday. Feel good Monday? Great, attack a 7 mile tempo run and get that out of the way.

I was able to incorporate all my races and slot the twenty mile runs into weekends that work well. Not terribly excited about trying to PR at Shamrock bookended by two 20 mile runs, but I'd rather do those two Coach Jim runs with people than save up for a 15k race. Big picture here people. Another focus will be the "Cross Training" on Sunday. These can even be later in the day Saturday after my long run. Just some other activity to stretch my legs and help them recover more quickly.

I officially start next Monday. Wohoo?

Monday, January 06, 2014


Operation "Recapture This Feeling" is on!
Well, that really snuck up on me. So I finally officially registered for the Vancouver, BC marathon. It seems far out, but really May 4th is not that far away. I opened a calendar and counted the remaining weekends until the race... 17! I trained for the Portland Marathon for about 24 weeks. So if I started today I would have a month and a half less training!

The good news is, my fitness between when I started training for Portland and now is very different. I have that mileage base in my legs and a twelve mile run is routine now, not out of the ordinary. So I don't feel too panicked at this point. I could go out and run a marathon tomorrow, not fast or well, but I could do it. I ran sixteen miles a couple weeks ago and felt great afterward. I just ran fourteen hilly miles this weekend and that wasn't a problem either.

Honestly, right now I am basically already doing the first two months of my marathon plan anyways. When I started training last year I added a third weekday run to the mix (I had just been running Monday and Wednesday for the most part). That third run is now a permanent fixture in my week and I am glad to have kept that up! Also, my long runs are now between 12-16 miles, which are just routine at this point. Basically all I have to do is start peppering 18 and 20 mile runs into my weekends and I'll be back in "training mode."

Two changes I'd like to make this time around are: 1) More speedwork. Portland was solely about getting the miles in my legs and finishing strong. Mission accomplished. Now, I'd like to improve upon that time, so I'll need to make sure to get some fast runs in. Every week I'd ideally have a tempo run and either fartlek or interval run. 2) Better recovery. I can't let the longer runs on the weekend affect my weekday training like they often do. I've noticed I feel SO much better after a long run if I do some sort of activity afterward instead of just laying on the couch. Playing a round of golf or going for a walk make a world of difference in how I feel Monday. So, my goal is to get a light jog/walk or some sort of activity in after my long run to loosen me up for the week.

I'll post my official plan here soon. I probably won't obsess over it quite like I did with Portland, as I know the routine now and I am confident in my abilities to get ready for the Vancouver Marathon. The key is to once again get the mileage in my legs so I can run the whole 26.2 strong. The nice thing about training for a spring marathon is the weekend long runs shouldn't be too hot, which will be ideal for training.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


I've had a few runs now to test my new Garmin Forerunner 220 watch my parents bought me for Christmas. It was a gift I was excited to receive and I'm glad to say it hasn't disappointed!

My phone was sufficient for most runs but the watch make things a lot easier. No longer do I have a phone clanking around in my pocket (especially since I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S3 from a much smaller phone) and I don't have to stop, unlock my phone, and then hit pause at a stoplight. So on most my runs it eliminates the annoying hassles the phone presents.

A huge "pro" that I haven't really been able to use yet is the ability to glance at it for distance/pace updates. It will be so nice to be able to look at my watch and see how far I am along and also my average pace to that point. I also have it displaying current mile pace, so I know if I am slacking off a bit during a mile, especially since once you are a few miles in the average pace takes a while to reflect that. Can't wait to race with it, although I hope I don't start checking it neurotically... the phone was a pain in the ass to check so I just relied on intuition for the most part.

It also puts out some cool stats, like cadence and an accurate elevation chart (Endo was spotty there). I'll still be uploading my runs to both Endomondo and RunningAhead for tracking/social purposes, but that is easy because you can just upload the .fit file directly from the watch. Would be nice if Garmin Connect could automatically push to other websites, but oh well.

On Monday I absolutely crushed my run at PRC group. I did the seven mile hilly route and three miles in I decided to really challenge myself. So during the last four hilly miles I clocked in at 8:01, 7:36, 7:11, and 7:11. I felt great the entire time too. I was really pushing it and my body responded so well. I don't know why made me feel so great that run, but I wish I could capture it in a bottle to drink. Normally I just try to survive the hilly route at like 9:00/mile, Monday I killed it.

The only thing I wish the watch had was some sort of "night" mode, because you can't see it in the dark unless you hit the backlight button. Small nitpick though, since constantly having it backlit would drain the battery. Anyways, for most of that run on Monday I just waited until the mile beeps before seeing my times, which was kind of fun, especially since they weren't depressing me like they normally might.