Monday, November 2, 2015

NYC Marathon DNF

If you followed this blog, my DNF today will be all but a surprise. I didn't feel like running a conservative race (sub3?) because that's not my style and - after 40 or so marathons - I really don't need another sub3.

So I decided to run at a pace to go sub 250. Make or break - with little chance to "make". It didn't feel as easy as it should have for the first 12 miles and definitely not sustainable so I called it quits and jogged home from there. A death march was out of question.

With this, a year of blogging towards a loft goal ends with a DNF. Partially it's my own fault for not giving running the focus it needs to reach high goals, in particular at my age. Partially it was just bad luck to essentially miss out on the last four weeks of training. I felt sluggish and slow.

I hope there still was a tidbit here and there that was helpful for your own training and racing.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Take a risk!

Taking risks is something that I have often done when racing. It rarely goes well but when it does, it makes every single time I did it and failed worth it.

Compare that to the measured approach of continuously underperforming all your life with slightly above average results.

"High 5, well done, great pacing with that even split."

"Wow, another negative split, great self control."

Nothing disappoints me more than seeing this in other runners year after year until they are too old for greatness and slightly fade away, negative splitting themselves out of focus.

Sure, it's a question of personality but if you can't handle failing in a race that is your hobby, how are you ready to fail when it counts? Sports for me has always been the endeavor where I can test my physical and mental limits without doing any harm. You never know until you try.

This is my last entry before the NYC Marathon race report in a week. After three weeks of illness, I was able to do some kind of test run today. I don't know how long it was (10 miles?) or how fast (too fast for sure - I failed and quit early) but it did tell me that going for sub 2:50 will be a big risk. More likely than not, I won't make it. Failing at a marathon goal can yield "catastrophic" results: a few seconds too fast early on will be slung back at you in packs of minutes.

I could "comfortably" run a sub 3 hour marathon but I just don't have the mentality for it. Bad enough that my brain still is the same that ran 2:33 six years ago. My body sure enough is not. But that doesn't mean I won't take a risk.

Best of luck to all my fellow CPTC racers who join me in taking a risk!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yet another DNS

It's been fucking trying to say the least for the last weeks. A simple cold is not much to moan about but if it's followed up by a tooth infection, things are certainly crap.

I'm typing this with a tooth less in my mouth. It had to go and the procedure is painless thanks to modern medicine. It was quite creepy to listen to 15 minutes of someone braking your bones. Just be ready for that in case it ever happens to you.

I've been on Ibuprofen and Antibiotics for a few days now which is not something you take when you feel well. And if you don't feel well, how do you train? Exactly, you don't. I've been jogging a bit but needless to say that any serious training was not an option.

Bottom line: week 4 and 3 before the marathon were pretty much a write-off, including not running a half marathon after being signed up for one and then also the other. Not much left to do at this point so the goal is to get to the start line pain free and hope for the best.

Remember? Hope is not the best strategy...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


That freaking cold was worse than I had hoped and knocked me off my feet for four days. I've been scrambling my way back into running since but I had to give the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half a pass. Bummer because apart from a 30min. start delay, it apparently was a great race.

Running a half marathon two weeks before a marathon is risky but I feel I do need a good hit-out before I let myself loose on a marathon. Luckily we're living in the age of plenty also when it comes to run races so I opted for the Yonkers Half Marathon. It feels a bit shady to only run a half at such a storied race. Yonkers is USA's second oldest marathon after Boston. I ran the full shenanigans three years ago as a long run and really liked it. A bit of a sad finish line - I don't need much - but great going other than that.

Lidia asked me yesterday if I have a backup Marathon. Given how easily you can get a cold or niggle that kills any racing plans, it's a good idea to set up a backup marathon. Two to four weeks later seem a good time to me but that's certainly personal preference. The cancellation of the 2012 NYC Marathon turned the marathon world into a backup frenzy. Lidia and I were signed up as well but also had a backup in the Osaka Marathon (picture). It fit our plans for a business trip and we wanted to do it either way. Neither of us had a great race but it was a fantastic experience.

But no, I don't have a back-up marathon, mainly because we leave NYC for first the tropics (Cozumel) and then summer (Argentina) for a month. This means lots of cycling (for work). I could get back into serious run training starting mid December and run a January or February race but my wife is expecting in January so maybe, just maybe, priorities will be different. Or at least sleep will be optional.

Better finish NYC upright.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's here

The cold, that is. Unfortunately, I can't remember an October where I did not have a cold. The good news is that it is mild enough and better now than a week before the marathon. I'll be off running for three days or so. And it does likely put a damper into my Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn half this coming Saturday. I was planning to run it all out but at this point would be happy to have another FMP workout.

I say "another" because that's what I did at Grete's Half in Central Park last Sunday. Warmed up 6 miles with Michael W. and then ran a 1:23:20. It was a fun workout because David Alm gave me purpose. I ran up to him at mile 4 or so and made it my goal to pace him for the rest of the race. He had his highs and lows but finished solidly. I benefitted from running with him just as much because it was a welcome distraction.

Pic: that's David with me growing out of him. I tried to not ruin his picture but obviously failed at it spectacularly.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

3 x 1'/'2/3'

I'd like to write of more positive experiences in my training and racing but it's been a bit trying. I prefer to keep it real. It's all a question of perspective. If anything my perception of reality has been a bit skewed which lead to false expectations. Next time I set out to train for a goal, I need to keep that in mind.

I struggled lots to get the fatigue out of my legs after the 8 mile tempo on Thursday followed by a 22 mile long run on Saturday. It took me a full four days to be in shape for another workout. I had planned to run it Wednesday but it had to wait until today, Thursday. That's cutting it close until my next workout on Sunday which will be a long run comprised of 8-10 miles easy running and Grete's Half Marathon in Central Park at a quicker pace. Six days later I will race the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half. I doubt I can do any kind of workout between the two. It's "scary" how few workouts I get done at all. After Brooklyn, my legs are likely smashed for a week which puts me at two weeks to go. Not much I can do from there anyway. At least I won't be overtrained for the marathon.

The workout I did today is my all time favorite: 3 by 1 min./2 min./3 min. with jogs in between for the same period. Paces are about mile/5k/10k. It's not really important to hit a certain pace. Key is to have three distinct paces. The workout can be done on any course or surface. If you don't have a great feeling for pace, it may take a couple of tries to get it right. As always in life, don't worry about making mistakes as long as you address them afterwards. The most common error is to go out too hard and then not being able to go the same pace for the third set. If in doubt, start out a little too easy. For those of you running with a GPS - I know, fucking everyone - DO NOT USE IT. This workout is also an exercise in judging pace by feel.

For runners who tend to get injured or who are 40 and older, it might be better to do 3x3'/2'/1' because you can ease into it. If you do it this way, you'll notice that the two hard blocks are 2'/1'/3' in the middle because the jog break after the fast 1' effort is rather short and you have to go back into the solid 3' still huffing and puffing.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Resting more

Resting more has become a reality for me as a masters runner. I need more easy days between hard or long runs. We all do.

Does anyone know where the word "masters" in running comes from? It's such a nice way of saying "old and washed up". As we age, we get wiser thanks to accumulated knowledge and experience. I did feel more masterful as a runner 10 years ago than now though.

Thursday Michael B helped me to a good workout. We did two continued "middle 4" loops in Central Park with the first four miles at 6:30 pace and the second 4 at 6:00 pace. Michael is training for Chicago and is in better shape than he has in a couple of years. I added a 2:40h long run today on still somewhat sore legs. Let's just say I got it done.

With about a month to go to the race, I feel like I get a better grasp on what's left to do. Tuesday or Wednesday I plan on doing a shorter, faster workout. The following Sunday I'll incorporate the 2-loop Grete's Half Marathon in Central Park into a long run. I plan to do an easy 6 miles followed by the half at marathon pace. Right now I see a 2:45 as a realistic marathon target so that's the pace I'm aiming for.

I plan to follow this up with a taper-ish week before the Brooklyn Half Marathon which I hope to run in 1:18ish. After that, there are three weeks left. I'm not overthinking what I'll run then. Anything will do if I - again - stay healthy.

The video: I like the atmosphere. Could be any small town marathon in the US. Add a fun camera perspective and a focus on the back of packers and you have great marketing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Moving on from not moving

I got ok over the 20k with little soreness which I tribute to my slow race pace. Tired I was, however, for the rest of the week (work was a factor as well).

The weekend after, I finally managed to get the 3rd biennial Bed to Beach done. It's a 24 mile run from my apartment to Coney Island. I had the coach and his driver with me which made it lots of fun.

On Tuesday, I did a progression run because I was mentally too tired (work again) for a tempo. A few hours later, just an hour before I travelled to Italy for one of our global bike races, I started having food poisoning. The flight was pretty awful as you can imagine. I had to pull myself together quite a bit when getting on the plane to not get kicked off. At the time, I didn’t know for sure what was going on so heading on a plane for 8 hours across the atlantic with fever and general ill feeling may not have been the smartest move. It had to be done though.

Once in Italy, it took me two days to feel ok enough to move. By then I had no time whatsoever because of commitments around the race and no sleep thanks to jet lag. Getting up at 7am local time meant 1am NYC time. I was able to do the race on Sunday but wasn’t 100% back to normal. Monday I dragged myself out for the first run in six days. Tuesday was an all-day travel day and alas another zero.

I’m definitely short on time to get more solid workouts in but it was never going to be a perfect race. The biggest challenge now will be to stay healthy, especially with a sick toddler in the house.