Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taper Madness

When running a marathon, you get to experience something called the taper. A taper is what you do two to three weeks before your marathon. Essentially, you chill out on your mileage in order to give your body time to heal and to store up glycogen.

For this training cycle, I chose a two week taper. Much of the literature out there says that if you're running less than 60 or 70 miles a week, which I am, then you only need a two week taper. Last week, I ran 53 miles. This week, I have cut my mileage back to 29 miles. Next week I'll only run about 17 miles before the marathon on Saturday.

Now tapering is a difficult thing to do. My body is ready for a race. It's been training for almost 19 weeks and is in the best shape of my life. Seriously, the best shape of my life including high school. Cutting back on miles is difficult. I feel lazy and feel like I'm losing speed. At the same time, I have aches and pains that are telling me that I don't have what it takes to go under 3. My shin splint in my lower left leg is telling me that it's a possible stress fracture, when I know full well that it's just a shin splint.

Finally, I am having to think about what I eat. When you're running 50+ miles a week, you can eat whatever you want and I do. When you're running less than 30 miles a week, you can't eat that much. In addition, cutting out the grease and fat becomes essential in cleaning out your system. Going to bed hungry because you're used to 1000+ calorie dinners and you just ate 500 calories with no ice cream is somewhat dissatisfying.

As you can tell, I am slowly going crazy and I need to race already.

Monday, September 24, 2007

24 Miler

My last big training run was this past Saturday. 24 miles. A friend from San Mateo came up to run it with me. It was about 65 degrees and raining. In other words, almost perfect. I like running in the rain, as it cools me down. I felt great the entire time and we finished just under 3 hours. I wasn't trying to push it and felt that I definitely have what it takes to go under 3. Two weeks to go time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge (3.5M)

I wasn't planning on running this race, as I haven't raced anything under a 1/2 marathon in about 7 years and haven't done anything under a 10k in about 16 years, but my firm, more specifically, my office, appealed to my ego and asked that I represent my firm/office, as they knew that I could easily beat the fastest time from all of the other offices (24:50). So I decided to do it.

6:30pm last night at Crissy Field right next to the Golden Gate bridge. Very flat, simple 3.5 mile loop. I arrived and as soon as I got out of my car, I knew that I'd made a mistake in not bringing warmups. It was about 20 degrees colder than where I live and there was 20mph wind coming in from the ocean. Nice. Fortunately, we started and finished with a tailwind. However, the middle 1.75 miles were a little onerous.

Before I get to those miles, let me back up. This was not a chipped race. The only clock was the race clock, which meant that I was fighting 5000 other people to start up front. Lots of elbows. I was about 3 rows back, which was fine because there were some serious runners out. Like sub-5 minute mile runners. The last thing I wanted to do was get in their way.

The gun went off and off we went. First mile was at 5:58. I wanted it to be faster, but congestion and some tight turns slowed me down a little. Then we turned into the wind. I tried drafting, but the wind was whipping too much and each person I tried drafting off of was either too fast or too slow, so I ended up running the next 1.75 miles straight into the wind. Not too fun. I don't have my exact splits, but looking at my finish time, I'd say they were in the 6:25 - 6:33 range.

As I was approacing the turnaround, I saw the leaders headed back and they were seriously flying. I heard afterwards about the tactics employed and was pretty impressed. Apparently about a 1/4 mile before the turnaround, a breakaway into the wind occured. Then once at the turnaround, the 3 leaders really took off since they now had the wind at their back while everyone else was still headed into it. Smart tactics.

At the turnaround, I finally got the wind out of my face and picked it back up. At mile 3, I really picked it up because I wanted to beat 22 minutes. With about a 1/4 mile to go, I wanted to vomit and remembered why I don't really enjoy these shorter races. I finished in 21:48 for a 6:14 average.

I didn't push as hard as I could have, particularly during the headwind portion of the course and raced it more like a 10k, but was still ok with the time. I probably finished in the top 150, but won't know for sure for a couple of days.

EDIT: I finished 101st out of 5200

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I seriously have no idea where my fitness is. If I had to predict a time for St. George, it would be anywhere between 2:58 and 3:15. This might just be because I've been training for 17 1/2 weeks and my body is completely broken down. It might also be because I'm just getting older, but I only have one fast day a week in me and my right glut is pretty sore all the time. I'm going to push it tomorrow, omitting the hill, and see where I'm at. Two more long runs (an 18 and a 24) and then it's off to the races.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Nocturnal Rack

As I began my 22 mile run at 8:30pm last night (again, I have problems), little did I know that I would end up witnessing one of the most glorious racks that I'd ever seen on the Iron Horse Trail. Truly, it was magnificent.

Usually on the trail, I don't see many racks at all. In fact, I don't recall ever seeing one. I didn't expect to see one last night either. It was after all perfectly dark (there are no lights on this trail), but when my headlight spotted two eyes up ahead (and at eye level), I was stunned to see an 8 point buck standing in the middle of the trail just watching me go by.

I'm very glad that he didn't decide to lower his head and charge, as it was at about mile 18 and I was pretty beat.

Getting home a little after 11, icing for an hour, then finally eating dinner around midnight while I watched the History Channel is all something I'd rather not repeat next week, particularly because next week's run is 24 miles.