Thursday, July 31, 2014


Ladybug 5k route starting in Cook Park.
On Saturday morning I am doing two races. The Ladybug 5k and the Crawfish Crawl Half Marathon. I have dubbed it the "Crawbug 26k." All told it will be just over 16 miles of racing. The Ladybug has a 10k I was thinking about, but technically this is a down week in my training schedule and I don't think racing 19 miles would be the best idea, even if the challenge of it is enticing. Sixteen is enough!

How did this all come about? Well, originally when I saw the Crawfish Crawl was adding a 10k and half marathon I was pretty excited. Historically it has just been a 5k and something I have never done (I volunteered last year). It is one of the few races in my hometown of Tualatin, so the chance to do a half was exciting. I was having visions of running near places from my past, the high school, parks I played soccer at, etc.

Well, it turns out the run isn't quite what I was hoping. It uses a double loop inside Tualatin / Durham / Cook Parks that I run all the time and is the main route in other races I've done like the Earth Day Run, Rum Run, and HoHo. So nothing new on the course. The start time is also 10:30am. IN AUGUST. Meaning I'll be running the final miles of a half marathon after noon in August (likely temp... 80F). Yeah, not good.

Why a 10:30am start? Well, it turns out another race had the permits to use the parks before then. Enter the Ladybug 5/10k. It just so happens to be put on by a local runner, who also put on the 5k I won almost two months ago, and has a very good reputation. They offered a discount code to those who were also running Crawfish to entice them to sign up and do a double. I bit.

Crawfish Crawl Half map starting at Tualatin Park (2 loops)
One of the reasons I decided to do the other race is there is little chance I can PR given the 10:30am start and slightly hilly park course. Originally, when envisioning a 7:30am start and "Tour de Tualatin" route, I thought I had a chance to PR this race. Not so much. So instead of killing myself trying to PR and maybe having a repeat of Miami, I'm going to take the half easier. I'm not going to just pretend it's a long run, but I won't be shooting for record times.

So here is the plan... run the 5k hard, but don't focus on a PR. I don't want to pressure myself to leave it all out there when I have to run a half marathon shortly after. So I'm thinking a nice hard effort will come in between 21 and 22 minutes. Probably won't look at my Garmin and just go with feel. Then for the half marathon, treat it as a marathon pace training run. Give my 7:55/mile marathon pace a run at 13 miles. Normally I target it during shorter runs, but this will be a good chance to lock it in for many miles.

Now, 7:55/mile in the heat will be no joke. So, should towards the later part of the half marathon I feel the need to slow down, I'm going to slow down. I'm not going to kill myself over this thing. Honestly, if I get a 1:50 half, who cares. It's training! I need to do what's best for my body in prep for the Portland Marathon, and with a twenty mile training run looming next weekend, I don't need to trash my body over a race I'm not going to PR.

Anyways, so no official goals. Maybe not PRing should be the goal. Just run them hard but don't kill myself. Have fun with the double and just remember I am in the midst of marathon training and to take the long view.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Had a great weekend after running six miles on Friday. Those six were after 26 miles the previous two days and they honestly went better than I thought. I ran them very easy on purpose, setting my watch to show only the time so I wouldn't get stressed about my slow pace. Ended up averaging high 9s, my usual long run pace. Perfect. Legs felt decent.

Legs felt tired over the weekend but I had a great time up in Seattle. I took Brandon up there, his first visit to a big city other than Portland, and we did Wild Waves Theme Park, the Space Needle, and a Seattle Mariners game. They were all a blast and it was fun to show him a new place. The weather over the weekend was perfect, really couldn't have asked for it to be any better. I need to go up and spend some time in Seattle without an 11 year old but my schedule is so busy. I'm thinking maybe September... stay tuned Laurel!

Anyways, ran last night at run group after two days off and although my legs still felt heavy and worn they loosened up after a few miles. Really easy pace again and thankfully because it was 94 degrees and kind of muggy. Yuck. Think I'll try to hit a marathon pace run on Wednesday and then do some speedwork on Thursday. Take Friday off and then I have TWO races on Saturday. More on that later.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Smiles in selfie at mile 15 may be more
misleading than they appear.
One of the things I mentioned that was frustrating when putting together my marathon training plan was the amount of conflicts I had this summer. It seemed like I did nothing last summer and was able to hit all my training runs with ease. This summer has been a lot busier, which is great, but it has thrown a wrench into my training plan.

I'm determined not to let running ruin my enjoyment of the summer months, so in return I have to be flexible. I can still train decently, I'll just have to do things I don't normally do and probably won't want to do. Case in point, the last two nights. Normally I'd be running my first twenty miler of the training cycle this weekend. Problem is, I'll be out of town in Seattle all weekend doing touristy stuff and a twenty mile run isn't in the cards.

The solution? Get my long run in during the week. Now, I couldn't stomach the thought of doing twenty miles sometime after work, so I decided to do a different approach inspired by the Hansons Marathon Method. Basically, their equivalent of the 20-miler is 10 miles one night followed by 16 miles the next night. Thus, you are getting in 26 miles in two nights and your legs are already tired before you run 16. The net effect is about the same as one individual 20 miler.

So on Wednesday at run group I did ten miles instead of the usual seven. Nobody joined me so I was all alone for most the run. Hoka was there letting people test their new shoes, which meant free food and beer after the run and a raffle with all sorts of prizes. I missed it all because by the time I got back they were packing everything up and all the runners were already gone. Sometimes being dedicated sucks. Would have been nice to just say "fuck it" and join in on the fun.

Trusty ol' Portland waterfront route.
That was easy though compared to last night. Sixteen miles after work. I ran from my office right when I got off because if I fought traffic home and then ran I'd be running in the dark for the last half hour. So off I went to run for 2 hours and 40 minutes along the Portland Waterfront down to the Sellwood Bridge, a five mile out and back onto the Springwater Corridor, then back up along the waterfront on the east side to my office. By the time I was done it was almost 8:30pm and the sun was fading. That, my friends, took dedication.

Physically the run wasn't too bad. My legs were already kind of achy all day from the ten the night before but they held up pretty well. Did a normal long run pace of about 9:40/mile and they held up pretty well. Definitely sore and worn toward the end, but not to the point where I want to cry, like often on twenty milers. I could tell it was harder than a usual sixteen and I was definitely putting good work in to get myself ready for the marathon. It just sucked because it seemingly took FOREVER. I just wanted to be home.

Anyways, I got that done! I'm going to run a super easy six tonight and then I can take off Saturday and Sunday without guilt. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


The whole gang from my family reunion camping outing this last weekend in the meadow by the river.
Had a blast camping with my family this last weekend. It is a trip I look forward to every single year. We camp by the Umpqua River on a chunk of property my family owns. I was brought up on that river and that piece of land, so it holds a special place in my heart. Most of all of one side of my family shows up and it is just three days of good old fashioned fun.

Like last year, I wanted to get a run in during the trip at some point. Since it was over the weekend it had to be of the long run variety. I really wish I could just take a weekend off, but part of marathon training is being fairly uncompromising with your training. If you start to compromise and take days off it will affect your performance in the race. Had I just taken this one weekend off would I be okay?  Yes. However, there are multiple weekends with conflicts ahead and I need to get runs in when I can.

Fantastic twelve miler!
I did the exact same route as last year. It is basically six miles one way (three miles out and back) and then six miles the other way. It allows me a stop halfway through where I can grab a new water that I leave by the side of the road for myself. I really enjoyed this run last year and enjoyed it again this year. Running along those country roads was peaceful. A bit nerving when cars flew by at 55mph, but thankfully it was early enough on a Saturday (around 9am) that traffic was fairly light.

Ended up averaging 8:44/mile (did 8:52/mile last year, but I wasn't necessarily even aware or trying to beat that). Started out slower, around 9:30/mile when running through the field to the road, but once I hit the road the pace came easily and I just went with it. It was also starting to warm up (hit 95 that today) so I didn't want to dally. Drank two fall bottles of water (34oz) in the 1:45 I was out there. Again, the legs didn't feel super fresh due to sleeping on the ground but they definitely felt better than last year.

Six easier miles Monday at run group. Twenty six miles over the next two days on tap. Ugh. More on that later.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Like I said, it has been uncharacteristically hot for about the last week here in the Willamette Valley. Highs in the 90s and unusually muggy at about 50% humidity. Some might scoff at that, but we Oregonians are delicate flowers! I, however, have never been one to use the heat as an excuse not to run. I still get my ass out there, and if I have to dial it back a little, then fine.

Trying to look peppy after track intervals.
Wednesday at run group I was determined to hit a marathon pace run. So I was targeting about 7:55 a mile and ended up at 7:52. It was WAY harder than it should have been though because it was about 94 outside and pretty uncomfortable. It was kind of crazy to be hitting sub 8s in that weather, but I was able to do it. It sucked, but you know what, I finished and I am a stronger runner for it.

Same deal today, Thursday. Guess that is technically yesterday now. Needed to get speedwork in so I headed back to the track to do intervals. Decided on 6 x 800m with 400m rests. With the warm up and cool down it was six miles. Hit them in 3:22, 3:15, 3:15, 3:21, 3:22 and 3:16. That's between 6:30 and 6:44 a mile. Pretty dang good for intervals in a muggy 86F with the sun blasting down. Again, like the run the day before, it was terrible, but after I felt great and knew I had made myself better.

Now off to camp at the Umpqua with my family for three days. Can't wait! I'll do twelve miles on Saturday as my long run. Until next week!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Starting off Saturday's hot long 18 mile run with Portland Marathon Clinic along the waterfront in Portland.
Last week I vowed to hit my marathon training hard and I was able to come through and hit all my runs. I'm feeling it though as my legs have been tired and worn ever since my long run on Saturday. During this marathon training cycle 41 miles may be the most I do in a week as my high weeks top off around 40 miles. Eventually I think they'll need to top off around 50 if I ever plan to get into the low 3s marathon time wise, but I'm a ways from that.

Right now forty one miles is certainly a lot for my body. The good news is I'm not really sore or anything, my legs are just tired and feel dead. Once I get running typically they start feeling better. This weekend was particularly rough because I had an 18 mile training run in the morning (see below) and then promptly followed that up with 18 holes of golf in the afternoon. Talk about a day on your feet. Then the next day, Sunday, I spent most of the day up at Mt. Hood at the Adventure Park walking around before coming back for the race with Brandon on Sunday evening. Phew!

The training run Saturday morning was certainly memorable. Saturday reached a high of 95 degrees and by the time we finished the run it was already in the 80s. I think when we started running it was about 70 but it certainly heated up in those two hours and was very muggy. I ran it with the Portland Marathon Clinic group again, so while it was hot, it was nice to have company suffering right along with you. Plus their aid stations are a nice relief, especially on hot days like these.

Tentative plans are a marathon pace run tonight at run group, followed by six miles of speedwork on Thursday. Hopefully my legs will feel up to that. On Friday I leave for the Umpqua River and will be camping there until Sunday, so I'll try to get a twelve mile long run in and take this week as a "down" week. I ran twelve miles during this same trip last year and it went pretty well... I'll probably just run that same route.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Hanging out waiting for the race to start.
Yesterday was year two of the Sunday Evenings 5k put on by a local church. I ran this race last year with my Little Brother through BBBS Brandon. It was his first 5k and he did great. He didn't exactly catch the running bug, but he did tag along for a 5k this winter and didn't protest much to doing this race again this year. It's not his favorite, but I do think he likes to challenge himself and he knows it makes me happy so he tags along.

His dad Wiliam ran the race again and had more realistic expectations this time. He finished just below his time from last year (by like twenty seconds) but wasn't as bummed because he realizes now that those serious runners are serious and playing a lot of soccer isn't going to necessarily put you in the same league as them. The race was a little bit bigger this year too but still included the free BBQ after the race.

Brandon wasn't quite as nervous as last year but he still got quiet and I could tell he was a little nervous. When I asked him he admitted he was somewhat anxious but "not as much as bungee jumping earlier today" (yes, I let him bungee jump earlier in the day). So I guess whatever puts it in perspective!  Libbie was there again to take pictures and the race started promptly at 5pm.

Feeling good a tenth of a mile in.
Luckily the weather stayed decent enough, cloudy, muggy and about 70. That was much better than the 96 and full sun predicted just days before. Once we started I tried to pace Brandon and I around 9:30/mile. He naturally wanted to go faster, as kids were blasting past us left and right, but I reminded him we had a long way to go and the race wasn't won in the first mile.

We got about a third of a mile before Brandon needed a walking break. I knew many of these would be coming, so I would just encourage him about the job he was doing so far and try to get him running again within 30 seconds or so. He actually ran farther on his second "running section" going about .40 miles. He wanted to quit sooner, but I encouraged him to run down the hill and to the base of an uphill, knowing that would be a good place to rest.

Never again did we run that far without a break, in fact, I'd be surprised if he ran a quarter mile again. Credit to the kid though, he kept moving forward and uttered hardly any complaints. I was lavishing praise on him and it was genuine, I was very proud and impressed with him. He was super sweaty and breathing heavy but kept pushing on. He really wanted to beat his time from last year, so I think that was a big motivating factor.

The course is pretty hilly and if I could make one change about this event it would be to make the course less hilly for Brandon. Oh well. My 10:00/mile jog was hard for Brandon, he either wanted to walk or go 8:00/mile, so for a large part of the second mile he'd run ahead, walk until I caught up, run ahead again, etc. Eventually this tuckered him out and he resumed shadowing me and taking walking breaks where I'd slow down for him.

The annual "burn Thomas at the finish line" tradition.
His mile times were 10:13, 11:56, and 11:08. The second mile contains a lot of uphill and he definitely pushed himself that first mile, so those times make sense. I was very proud of him in the third mile, where he kept chugging along and actually came away with a pretty good mile time. For never running sustained periods at all, to come away with a 34:09 5k at 10:59/mile is pretty freaking good!

Brandon darted ahead once we reached the church parking lot again and finished a good nine seconds ahead of me. I love how he can summon the energy to sprint to the finish like that. He beat his time last year by two and a half minutes. Awesome! I congratulated him but he was pretty quiet for about fifteen minutes... a Brandon trademark when he is exhausted. Eventually he came back from the dead. He was disappointed he only beat his time by two and a half minutes, he wanted more like ten. I had to explain to him two and a half minutes is a lot, that's almost a minute per mile!

After taking advantage of the free food and relaxing a little bit we headed our separate ways. Brandon did awesome and I was super proud of him. Until next year!

Brandon's official time: 34:09, 10:59/mile.

Friday, July 11, 2014


So in my effort to get serious about marathon training I went out and hit an interval workout last night. Despite it being 88 degrees and muggy when I started at 6pm I went ahead and did it anyway. Doing intervals in the hot, direct sun on a black track isn't the greatest idea ever, but when I commit to something I like to follow through.

For the first time ever I did something other than 400s. Shocking, I know. I think I've only done intervals on the track maybe three times before and each time it was of the 400m variety. Well, for marathon training typically you do longer intervals, but I couldn't stomach just a slew of 800s or whatever, so I decided to mix things up and do a "pyramid." Start off with 2 400s, then 2 800s, then a 1600, then back down the ladder with 2 800s and 2 400s.

All in all it went really well. Intervals suck. The scenery sucks, the sun was fucking stupid, and I didn't really want to be there. However, once it was all over I felt great and I was glad I did them. For the most part they went off without incident, I did pull back a little due to the heat and the mileage I would be accumulating at seven miles. If you are just doing six 400s or whatever you can really bomb them, but I didn't go full out knowing I had a lot of work to do.

If I had a heart rate monitor, I really think it
would have said more calories. It was HARD.
I did have to take a break after my first 800 on the way back down the pyramid. After completing the first lap of that interval I felt like I was going to pass out. I thought about stopping mid-interval but forced myself to complete it. I found some shade under a tree and sat down. I was pretty light headed and I think about halfway to heat exhaustion. So after cooling down there for five minutes I completed the rest of my workout. It was a good decision.

My times were:

400m: 1:38.07 (6:33/mi)
400m: 1:34.21 (6:17/mi)
800m: 3:22.66 (6:45/mi)
800m: 3:23.75 (6:48/mi)
1600m: 7:24.36 (7:27/mi)
800m: 3:31.97 (7:08/mi)
800m: 3:28.53 (6:57/mi)
400m: 1:41.50 (6:46/mi)
400m: 1:42.77 (6:52/mi)

So, as you can see, I slowed down some, but not too bad. It was a pretty good workout for seven miles 88 degrees!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


My underwhelming training so far and overwhelming amount of obstacles to come. I also just realized I completely forgot about race pace runs. I am a hot mess. Exchange a lot of those tempo runs on Wednesdays for pace runs, k?
Well, preparing to write this post has really pissed me off. My training plan this time around is only 16 weeks and for the first three weeks I haven't even hit 30 fucking miles. How do I honestly expect to succeed at a marathon when I am slacking off and not even hitting thirty miles? That should be the minimum per week, not a level yet to be reached!

Now, I know I am in decent shape. I can run a half no problem. I would consider myself in "half plus" shape, because I could run 16 or 18 miles now and not have it be super difficult (I just did a hilly 16). However, the goal is to prepare for the Portland Marathon, to hopefully get a sub 3:30, and I am not going to do that by running three times per week for under 30 miles.

The main issue was I avoided looking at my marathon training plan for three weeks after my training actually "started." I was just kind of winging it. So when I went to fill it in for this post and saw what I had actually done... I was pretty pissed off. I skipped one day because my ankle was acting up, which was smart, but the other two "misses" were just to taper for races and that should not be my priority right now. Go out and run an easy four or something, just don't skip it.

Anyways, the good news is there is still almost three whole months until the Portland Marathon. I am in "half plus" shape. If I hit these final 12 weeks hard I'll be able to overcome the less than inspiring start. The issue with this is, and this caused a lot of rage in addition to the early slacking, is I have so many conflicts. There is a stretch of seven weekends in July/August and I will be home for a grand total of TWO of them. How the fucknuggets am I supposed to get my shit in?

Brandon, displaying me at mile 18 of the
marathon if I don't get my shit together.
And this leads me to the realization I want my summer. Summer in Oregon is awesome and I want to enjoy it to its fullest. My summer this year is packed with a lot more fun than last year. And that's a good thing. You only get to go around this world once, so I'd rather do it having fun than sitting at home because I have to hit my Saturday morning training run. I'm not going to qualify for Boston by cutting my training short and running 30-something miles a week with 4 runs. I accept that.

So, the goal is to get my long runs in on the weekdays some weeks. I really hope I can make these happen. I don't see myself getting a long run in during my trip to the East Coast, getting any run in will be difficult enough, so I guess my goal that week will be just to stay in decent enough shape. I also need to do more speedwork... I haven't done that yet this training cycle (in three weeks I have two races and one tempo run, so better than nothing).

That all changes tonight! I'm going to do pyramid intervals of 2x400, 2x800, 1x1600, 2x800, and 2x400 with 400m rests, totaling 7 miles. In the hot sun. It'll be worth it though and I need to start actually taking this seriously. I'm not going to sacrifice my summer for it, but there are ways where I can still train decently enough and still have fun.

For my 2013 Portland Marathon training plan, click here.
For my 2014 Vancouver BC Marathon training plan, click here.

Monday, July 07, 2014


Almost all of the half marathoners moments before the start of the race at 7:30am.
Pleased to report I had a pretty good race Saturday at the Stars and Stripes Half Marathon. While it wasn't the perfect race, mostly because of my own doing, I was able to fight through it and achieve my main goal by a mere 12 seconds. Like I suspected, the competition was a bit more stiff this year, but I was still able to finish third overall and set a new PR by almost two minutes.

The start of the half marathon! You can see my left shoulder.
If you are Facebook friends with me you might have seen a lot of talk about clam dip. Maybe I am blaming too many bad choices on the clam dip, but it certainly didn't help things. If you are confused, let me back up. The race was on July 5th, meaning the day before was the Fourth of July. I went to a BBQ and ended up eating way too much clam dip. Like probably a thousand calories of clam dip. And probably one too many beers.

That, coupled with five hours of sleep, and I wasn't necessarily setting myself up for great success. I wasn't hungover or anything, but my stomach just hurt and I was afraid of the "result" of all that clam dip and beer. I really should stop sabotaging myself before races, it seems like every other race I am running through some sort of bad decision.

Anyways, my legs felt alright and honestly I didn't feel that bad. So off to the race I went! Woke up at 6:45am, left the house at 7:00, and was at the race by 7:10. Gotta love these local races. Packet pick up was a breeze and after saying hi to the numerous people I knew there, I tried to get toward the front of the starting line so I wouldn't be trapped behind people on the narrow sidewalk at the start. After a few words from the race director we were off shortly after 7:30!

LAP ONE - THIS ISN'T EASY! (24:01, 7:20/mile)

Weeee races are fun!
Lining up toward the front helped this year as I was able to find room and run my pace right from the get go. My friend Glenn from run group was also running this race and we ran the majority of the first two laps together (I kind of pulled away toward the end of the second one). It was nice to have him as company for a while though.

It took me two whole miles before I felt settled in. During those first two miles I felt out of breath and like our 7:20 pace was a sprint. I couldn't believe I was able to do a 5k at 6:38/mile and a 10k at 6:56/mile. This 7:20 pace was killer! I just kept waiting to settle in and was talking with Glenn saying that I hoped this would get easier because at that rate there was no way I could maintain.

Thankfully after two miles I seemed to settle in. For the next four miles or so I actually felt pretty good. The course was exactly the same as last year and I run that park all the time so each lap was kind of like deja vu. While I really like this race, I also appreciate how new scenery can distract me. No surprises here. Just you and your body.


Portions of the route had runners going both ways. You can
see Glenn in green behind me. This is lap two.
After the first lap I took a quick stop at the aid station and drank a cup of way too strong Gatorade. It was getting hot outside and I knew I needed to stay hydrated. While this next lap technically took me longer, ten seconds of that was the aid station stop so really I didn't slow down at all. And who am I kidding, seven seconds over the course of 3.28 miles is nothing.

This lap I felt settled in and got into a good groove. While I was feeling good I was really doubting I could maintain it for the entire race. My stomach was a little rumbly and it was getting warm outside. It was only in the mid to high 60s, but parts of the course were in direct sun and it felt a lot hotter, especially at a quick pace. I could hear Glenn laboring behind me so it was nice to know I wasn't the only one struggling with it.

Speaking of Glenn, I loved his company but I also really wanted to make sure I beat him. So I kind of channeled my inner Shalane Flanagan when I heard him breathing harder and almost stepped on the gas a little more. If you've seen the 60 Minutes piece, she "raced" Anderson Cooper and let out a cackle of joy as he began to struggle and she blew past him. Anyways, by the end of the lap I probably had ten seconds on him.

LAP THREE - OKAY, THIS SUCKS NOW (24:24, 7:27/mile)

Is this thing over yet?
I had one and a half cups of water this time around at the aid station. The other half cup went down the back of my neck in an effort to cool off. My strategy of dropping the hammer on Glenn kind of backfired in that I was now all alone. He paused a bit longer at the aid station and the next time I saw him on the course I probably had at least thirty seconds on him.

So it was just me, myself, and I. Those three jokers started to struggle too. As you can see, I pretty much maintained my pace, falling off only 5 seconds a mile, but it was a struggle. The heat and speed were starting to get to me. I just kept telling myself to hold it, it was now less than a 10k, etc. If the course was more shaded I think that would have helped... I was feeling pretty good in the shaded sections but once I got into the sun it was just a little too hot.

Throughout the whole race I was saying hi to the other marathoners and half marathoners I knew running the race. Since the course is a loop with a couple out and backs you had a lot of chances to see people. Toward the end of this lap though I started missing people because my head was down or I was spacing out just grinding along. I'd hear a "Good job Thomas!" and I would shout back "You too!" if I could muster the energy.


Before the final lap I drank a cup of water mixed with sports drink and poured an entire cup of water down my back. This aid station stop was a little longer than the other ones as I was really trying to catch my breath. The race, and the clam dip, was starting to catch up with me. My uneasy stomach plus the heat and pace were starting to make me feel sick. I thought I might throw up and I just wanted it to be over.

Commence death march.
Eventually I came up with a plan. I'd run as fast I could without resorting to vomiting. So I ended up slowing my pace a little bit to make things more comfortable. Part of this plan was also avoiding looking at my watch, because I knew it would freak me out. I had a pretty good idea of where I was time wise, and at this point I could run 8:00/mile and still PR, so I told myself the sub 1:38 was okay to miss given all the things working against me.

I seemed to regain my bearings a bit after a slower mile (7:49). It helped calm things down and the feeling like I needed to barf went from urgent to a nagging concern. I picked it up a little on the second to last mile, clocking a 7:38. Once I was within two miles of the finish line I got a shot of adrenaline because I knew I was almost done. I could hang on for two miles. I could do this!

Anyways, when my watch beeped at mile twelve I did look at it. My overall time basically right on 1:30:00. Meaning I had 8:00 to finish the 1.11 miles. I knew I'd have to run about 7:30 to make that happen. After that glance however, I only looked at my watch maybe twice more to make sure my pace was still okay. I switched away from the page that showed my overall time. Whatever happened, happened.


That last mile I was mostly running on feel. I was running it as hard as I could and the finish line being so close was a huge motivator.  By the time I got to the small hill up to the finish line I started to basically sprint. My body was screaming at me to stop but I could taste the finish line now. There was a group around the aid station table I kind of had to weave around but I was able to negotiate that and fly through the finish line.

Glenn and I at the finish line.
It was over! I did a quick glance at my watch... I hadn't looked at the overall time since it read 1:30:00... and I clocked my time at 1:37:50. I had done it! The official time ended up being 1:37:48. As soon as I confirmed my "A" goal being reached I flopped down in the grassy shade and tried to catch my breath. After a minute or two of huffing and puffing there I stumbled to say hi to my friends who came to cheer.

Anyways, overall it was a really successful race. I beat my previous half marathon PR by 1 minute and 52 seconds, or about eight seconds a mile. Doesn't sound like much, but I could definitely feel I was pushing myself hard right from the get go. My stomach was able to settle down once I got done running even after putting a fatty, sugary Starbucks drink on top of it (thanks Lib!).

Another successful race in the books! After hanging out for almost an hour and a half after finishing to cheer others on I stumbled home and took a nice, warm bath. I hope to prepare myself better for the Crawfish Crawl Half Marathon coming up in a month and maybe shave a few more seconds off, but we'll see. I really need to start focusing on the marathon now.

Official Results: 1:37:48 (PR), 7:27/mile. 3/66 overall, 3/24 male.
Mile Splits: 7:27, 7:19, 7:14, 7:25*, 7:19, 7:19, 7:36*, 7:24, 7:33, 7:58*, 7:49, 7:38, 7:33.
*includes aid station stop time

Thursday, July 03, 2014


Last year.
I won't go into detail about previewing this race on Saturday since I did a preview last year and everything about the race is pretty much the same. Only thing I'd like to update is, like last year, it will be chip timed. The website made it sound like it wouldn't be so last year I was preparing for hand timing. Anyways, if you'd like more details on the course and whatnot, please click on the preview from last year:

2013 Stars and Stripes Half Marathon Preview

This is the race I won last year. I won't be winning it this year and that is a huge relief. I can focus on my own race and not worry about things. Alejandro is running it too and he'll beat me by a good three or four minutes. Even in the off chance I were to beat him somehow, someone else I know is going to be running it and he's an amazing runner. He'll likely go sub 1:30. Plus, I'm sure other fasties have looked at the results from last year and signed up licking their chops. So I'm excited I won't have to worry about that!

My goal is just to run a solid, steady race. It's a fairly flat course and my mile times should all remain fairly consistent (ideally). I hope to feel the same way I did during Bald Peak... strong. Despite the difficult course there I felt great and the half marathon distance was no problem. I have a feeling this will be a little harder, I won't have the downhill "breaks" and the loops and familiar scenery will make this more of a grind. However, I'm hoping to still attack the race hard and feel strong.

Four laps of fun!
My legs haven't felt great for about a week so I'm hoping they recover in time for Saturday. I'll be taking it easy today and on the Fourth (nothing keeps you in check the night before like a looming half marathon) so hopefully they feel better by then. My ankle is much better but still somewhat sore. I don't think it will be a problem though.


"A" Goal: Sub 1:38. This is 7:27/mile, meaning I'd probably want to run 7:25/mile average on my watch just to be safe. This will be a stiff challenge but I think I can do it!

"B" Goal: PR, meaning 1:39:40 or less, set at this race last year. Since that race I've ran two half marathons, one in Miami and the one at Bald Peak. So I really haven't had a realistic chance at a new PR. I'd be disappointed if I didn't get this.

"C" Goal: If my legs don't recover or feel fresher by Saturday I could see myself struggling to a 7:45 average or something. Beat my first half marathon time of 1:42:32.