Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marathon Monday!

Yesterday I ran the Boston Marathon and what New Englanders in the Boston area call Marathon Monday. Since Patriots Day is celebrated here, most people have work off and have time to drink/line the marathon route. This makes for great motivation since there are few spots along the route without spectators cheering you on. The crowd helped substantially, but they did not lessen the pain in the final few miles. Here's how it went down.

Short Version:
Finished in 3:43.

Marathon Version:
We got up early (5:30) to be picked up by the rest of our group; we were running as 4. We then drove out to the start some 26.2 miles from Boston. We got there at around 6:30 and took about 15 minutes to find the start. The four of us were running bandit and had not registered to run, so we had to fend for ourselves to find the start and pass the time. Before leaving Boston, we found a registered runner who was lost, so we gave him a ride too. When we got out at the start, it was a little chili - mid forties or so. We didn't want to leave anything at the start, so we were in our running gear and went numb for the next few hours. To put the size of the event in perspective, there were 26,000 registered runners and about 5,000 bandits. The little town of Hopkinton was packed. After the elite men and women had gone, we hopped into a corral (sneakily so as not to be caught) and waited for the starter's pistol. From there it took 16 minutes to get to the starting line and the beginning of what would be a once in s lifetime experience.

We had talked ahead of time and decided to shoot for a 3:45 pace. That meant we would have to hold back in the beginning since there would be a ton of adrenaline. Since I'm used to explosive sports--crossfit, ski racing, etc.--it was a very anticlimactic start. The first mile slowed us more than we expected since we had to weave though literally thousands of people. After 1 mile we were already 1 minute 30 seconds back from our pace. We picked it up for the second mile and shaved that down to 30 seconds. We then held that pace for a while shaving off a few seconds here and there. Even from the beginning there were people cheering us on. Also, we found it funny that many people had what I like to call 'cocker spaniel' syndrome and were in the woods relieving themselves not even half a mile into the race. The first many miles were fun and kind of drifted by. One notable moment was when a spectator on a ledge was throwing orange slices into the crowd saw us running by. I motioned for him to throw one to me. When he did everyone I was running with thought it would go over our heads, but, in stride, i leapt up and caught it with left handed behind my head. I received many cheers and a delicious orange. Somewhere around mile 8 we lost one of our group. She was the only experienced marathoner with us, but she was having problems with her hips. She told us to go on and finished the race on her own suffering great pain and showing extreme determination.
For two of us, reaching mile 10 was the end of known territory. Over the next 16.2 miles, each step would be the furthest we've ever run. At about mile 12, one of our friends jumped into the course and ran with us a ways. She then jumped out and found the girl who had split off. At about this point we entered the halfway mark and Wellesley College. This is an all girls school where the students have been known to scream, flash, and occasionally latch on to runners. Most of the girls were holding signs saying 'Kiss Me' and were yelling. We saw no flashers. We had thought about slowing down for this section and really taking in the atmosphere and taking advantage of our surroundings, but when my two friends saw the line of girls, the both kicked it into high gear and got about 1000 high fives. One of my buddies had written his name and phone number on a few wrist bands that he planned on throwing into the crowd at Wellesley, but as soon as the moment struck him he completely forgot.
We continued to make time and eventually got ahead of pace. We were all feeling good, so we kept up our pace and cruised through several miles. Somewhere along this, probably mile 14 or 15. I stopped to use the bathroom (enough said). We had planned that I would run ahead, they would slow down and I would catch them after. Surprisingly this worked. I sprinted, so to speak, ahead, did my business, and kept a fast pace for the next mile or so. Luckily, I saw the tattered American flag boxers and Vibram 5's (that's right he ran in 5 fingers) my friends was wearing. He said the other guy had also made a pit stop. He caught up with us shortly thereafter.
The night before the race I was given the advice from an experienced runner, that BC should be thought of as the halfway mark both physically (body breakdown-wise not distance), and mentally. Unfortunately, I started getting sporadic cramps in my calves at about mile 18, 3-4 miles before BC. Once this started happening, I drank as much Gatorade and water I could get my hands on. This worked for a while and I was able to keep pace with my friends until Heartbreak Hill. My calves were cramping too much to keep up so I let them go ahead and I would face the next 8 miles alone. I didn't stop at any point on the hill, but the pain was getting pretty bad. Somewhere along the way my hamstrings joined in the fun and I would cramp up every third step or so. Nevertheless I pushed on. The rest of the race was mental. BC was huge. The student body has so much energy that they pretty much carried you through their section of course. A little while after that, at about mile 22.5, some of my friends were watching. They had beers ready and it was good. Then I hit the BU campus body, who had a similar effect to BC. I did stop to walk at some random water station to get my fill, but at this point, liquids did little for my legs. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and thought to myself, only a few more miles. At this point in the race, I drew inspiration from some of the runners around me. I saw many bands of soldiers carrying 50lb ruck sacks who had left hours beforehand, but were still en route. I also saw a man pushing a wheelchair, who had also left ahead of me, but was determined to reach the finish. Both of these sights spurred me on. For a few miles I found myself singing military running cadences, that I listen to running, half out loud half in my head. This was an emotional portion of the race and my adrenaline brought me through the final miles. When I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line, nothing could stop me. I ran as fast as my now hardly functioning legs would take me and crossed the line with a time of 3:43. The big clock said 3:59, but I later found out that we had crossed the start when it said 16.
They kept us moving through the finish area. Everyone got a heat blanket, a bag of food, water, water and more water. The registered runners got a medal and could receive medical attention if they needed. Us bandits just took whatever we were given. There were so many people at the end of the race that I was sure I wouldn't find my friends. I did a slow, very slow, walk around the meeting block and finally found one of my friends back at the beginning. He had finished in 3:35 and our other friend finished 30 second thereafter. However, this second friend, Dave, was given medical attention by his girlfriend who was working in the medical tent. We then sat and waited for the spectating crew to come pick us up. There were many congratulations and victory beers. However, someone had the bright idea to pick a bar over a mile from the finish. We set off at a slow hobble and finally reached the bar for a delicious after run celebration.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tapering I guess

As mentioned before, I did end up doing those treadmill sprints last Tuesday. They went a little something like this:

8 Rounds
30 seconds on 20 seconds off
12% grade
7.8 mph (7:41/mile)

It was a tad slower than the last treadmill hill tabata I did, and although it felt a little easier and I made it through all eight rounds, I did have to dig deep for the last three. Good news is that me feet and calves have learned to deal with POSE running. I wonder how long that will last on Monday.

Ang, as far as tapering, I feel the same way. I think I'll run today and tomorrow, but hold off all weekend. If it's not a hard work out it just doesn't feel right.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taper? Oh and my Saturday Workout

Saturday was a real world scenario workout, here's the link:

So, yeah, it was an interesting Saturday afternoon.

I've been trying to figure out a way to taper before this marathon. I really don't know what I'm supposed to do, so I'm just going to rest a few days before.

On Friday I did:
500m row
150 DU's
50 Burpees

11:37 (nothing to write home about with that time)

In my defense, the rope was pretty heavy and I haven't done burpees in months. I can wait until the marathon/my shoulder heals so I can start some more intense sessions.

Yesterday I did:
5 rounds for time
10 Steps walking lunges with 65lb db's (I'm feeling that today)
250m row


Today I'm planning o doing sprint repeats on a treadmill. Like I said I'm not really sure how a taper is supposed to work, so I'll just wing it and hope it works out. I may do one more long run on Thursday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Uphill + Pack = Hard

Today's workout was a mile run at incline with a pack. The limitations were 6%-12% incline with a 10-20lb pack. I went with a 9% incline and an 11lb pack (it's all I had with me in my back pack). As I premeditated my attack I thought, "It's only 1 mile, I should be able to do that at a 7 minute pace." Then I thought, "Well, it's at 9%, so maybe I'll hold back to 7:30 pace and pick it up if I'm feeling good." Then I remembered the pack and though, "Hmm...this could be harder then I anticipated..." Well, it was. I started at an 8 minute pace, then quickly switched to 8:30. I held that for a while and had to pull it all back to a 10:00 minute pace. Even that was tough and twice I slowed down to a walk to regain my jello legs. I think I finished in just over 10 minutes and was drenched in sweat. Don't underestimate inclined pack runs.

1 mile at 9% incline with an 11 lb pack

10 minutes +

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PT and 800m repeats

I had PT today and it went well. My shoulder is feeling better each day. I just can't wait to get back to full ROM without pain. Hopefully that will be soon. I had electro-stim and ice for the shoulder today and tape afterward. I'll go back next week to learn a few exercises. All in all it was great. The physical therapist was awesome, so good deal.

After that I went to the gym and this beautiful day to run. No it doesn't make a lot of sense, but i wanted to make sure distance and speed were accurate.

5 Rounds
Run 800m (keep within 5 seconds of fastest pace)
Rest 90 sec

I just set the treadmill at 9.7 mph and let it rip. All 5 rounds at the same speed. The last 2 were tough, but it felt good. Each round was 3:05:57.

Ang- I know how that goes. My chain gets me just about every time. The big question is where in Omaha did you find a Sauna?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Saunas and Sore Feet

Yesterday I went to another branch of my new globo gym to check out their Sauna. I did a little workout and took a little sauna. Overall, I was pleased. It was nice to have a decently warm sauna (around 150 I think) to go to after a workout. Next time I'll bring some water to throw on the rocks.

However, I will also have to bring some water for myself. I didn't drink enough and felt the effects on my recovering joints later. My knees bothered me a little yesterday, but my feet (escpecially left) hurt the most and continues to hurt today. I'm taking a rest day today to let my body come back a bit from the past two days. My plan is to do several workouts this week and taper a bit next week so that I'm fully recovered for the run.

5 rounds
Max Rep 135lb Bench Press (7-6-5-5-5)
Either planks/bridges or dragon flags (?) something to get a core burn going

12x20sec sprints rest 2 minutes between sets

I'm not impressed with the bench press numbers and, as usual, need to work on that. However, the sprints felt pretty good muscle and lung-wise.

Even though my shoulder is not seriously injured, it has been extremely limiting in what I can to for exercises. I have a Pt appointment tomorrow so I hope to find out more.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Today I was planning on going for a nice long run to see how it feels. My original plan was to do just over a half marathon, say about 13.5 miles. I mapped out a nice run along both sides of the Charles River, filled my camel back and took off. I started with a pretty easy pace and, since I've never run more than 6 miles in one go before, didn't push it too much. What I didn't anticipate for was exactly where I was supposed to cross the river. I'd never been that far along the run path, so I wasn't sure which bridge it was. Unfortunately, I jumped the gun and took a bridge that was too early. This cut my run down to a 9.77 mile run. Still, it was longer than I've done and for the most part felt pretty good. I know my technique started to wain a bit toward the end, but I tried to keep pose as best I could. I think this will help mentally on marathon day.

Run 9.77 miles
1:19 (average 8:12min miles, three traffic stops)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Double Duty

It was a double session today. The gym nearby makes it easy to get a regular wod in while having legs makes running something to be done every where.

Morning WOD
4 Rounds
7 - 225lb DL
7 - 135lb Power Cleans

Done for time, but not timed

My shoulder, or rather AC joint, is really limiting what I can do in the gym. Even doing cleans started to aggravate it toward the end. I'm going to take it easy with that type of lift until I the pain goes down, or I get a green light from PT.

Evening WOD
4 rounds
300m All out Sprint
rest 5 minutes

My splits were 45s, 47s, 51s, ??s. I was able to give a strong sprint until about 150-200m. That;s when it started catching up to me in both my legs and lungs. However, I did feel strong for the first bit. During the last round I passed someone on a bike. It felt pretty cool.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shoulder Woes

Yesterday I went in t get my shoulder checked out. Luckily, the doc said it was only a sprained AC joint. He prescribed some PT which will begin next Wednesday. It is still painful but I'm happy to hear it's not torn or anything serious.

Consequently, I joined a gym today. The new gym is lacking ina a lot of areas, but to be fair, is better equipped for crossfit than the gym I worked out in last summer in Hibbing. It also has a combat conditioning class that I may try out as part of the membership. And the cherry on the top is that I can go to any of their several locations and one of them nearby has a SAUNA! Yeah, I'm definitely doing that soon.

I made up a little WOD today, modified for my shoulder.

5 rounds
3 185lb Front Squats
20 Push-ups
25 Sit-ups

Not timed

It felt great working out in a crossfit style again and I look forward to many of those to come.