It has almost 4 million views on youtube, so you have probably seen it. It still deserves a spot in my list of posts on inspiration. This didn’t happen over night, that I am sure.
As I mentioned, the run yesterday was as much about getting my mojo back as it was reaching a specific result. Going into a race, being honest about my fitness and executing to that fitness – not getting tangled up in unwarranted expectations. So here is some data to share:
Finish: 3:20:xx (Not sure of official results yet)
First Half: 1:42:xx — so I reach my goal of negative splits
Pacing by half (duration not distance)
0:00 to 1:40: pace = 7:44 / mile
1:40 to 3:20: pace = 7:26 / mile
Pacing by quarter (duration)
0:00 to 45min: pace = 7:44 / mile
45 to 1:30: pace = 7:43 / mile
1:30 to 2:15: pace = 7:31 / mile
2:15 to 3:00: pace = 7:17 / mile
3:00 to 3:20: pace = 7:44 / mile — last 2 miles I was under 8/mile, but just barely. I didn’t look at my watch once after I crossed the 20 mile mark, so I realized this by looking at my Garmin data this morning. It did feel steady while running, but also I knew the struggle began.
Run / Walk – I maintained a run / walk program until mile 20, then I just ran it in.
Nutrition: 4 Huma gels (they are the best!), 1 GU with 2x caffeine at 21. Only liquid I consumed was enough to go with gel’s.
Key Stats prior to run:
CTL (Chronic Training Load) on Monday of race week = 54.8
Pace / HR key: 7:35 to 7:45 / 150 beats per minute
Weight: 142 pounds — this deserves a post of its own, but I am 10 pounds heavier than I like to be when racing well, 131 to 133 has always been a good place to have great races. I went through an experiment last March to gain 10 pounds of lean body mass, which went well. I gained some lean body mass with some fat mass too, I got up to approx 146 pounds.
If anyone ever says that you should “gain some muscle” because it will help your running, run and hide. It’s a terrible idea. I was running as slow as I have in a long, long time in April / May. The training involved to gain the muscle mass was part of it (lots of strength with limited conditioning), but carrying around 10 to 12 extra pounds, is bad for running. Period.
When I make a push for a race in the spring, getting back to 132 will be a priority.
Polar Loop: I used it to look at heart rate, but the frustrating thing is that there is not start/stop to it. It starts when you put on the HRM and stops when you take it off, or so it should. The HR strap was removed when I showered and in the trunk of the car all the way home, but for some reason the damn loop continued to record a heart rate. So my data from yesterday shows a 10 hour active period and includes a lot of time I as in the car coming home. I don’t know what the strap was picking up?
Fitbit: Approx. 40k for the marathon, I didn’t start / stop the fitbit to get just the marathon.
Current Marathon / States Map: http://goo.gl/maps/YT4NE
I felt like I was in 3:25 to 3:30 shape going into the run, which was determined by my consistent run results, pace/heart rate metric and a lot of historical experience. The one questionable factor was that while I was in that kind of shape, I had no clue if my body would hold together long enough for me to finish.
I’m very thankful for my personal mantra, as I repeated it about 50 times in the last 6 or 7 miles. It kept my mind at ease and my body moving forward.
I also out ran what I thought was my level of fitness, so I’m pretty excited about the execution on the day.
Mission Accomplished! What is next?
I have this thing, I have had it since the day I was born. Well, at least since the earliest memories I have as a kid. It becomes most memorable at the point where being a pain in ass stopped being cute and became a problem. My thing is questioning everything. I have questioned my parents and teachers, books and movies, friends and strangers, common knowledge and a skeptic’s story. It has got me in trouble with teachers, the dog house with Nikki – but it has also been a driving factor my unending desire to learn and an unbearable curiosity.
There was an answer that I regularly received that struck me as interesting, yet potentially frustrating too.
“Do as I say, not as I do.”
Keep this in mind as you read my thoughts leading the race tomorrow morning. I would not completely recommend an athlete go into a race with the training I’ve had, but as I’ve thought through what my personal expectations are for this run; I’ve realized that maybe it hasn’t been optimal but I’ve lived into some of the principles I preach – plus tomorrow is about more than finishing or trying for personal records.
1. Gain back a little bit of the confidence that I lost in New Orleans. Bad performances haunt me like the plague, which has always been a stumbling block I have to achieve my goals. Great things often come after big lows, or at least that is the narrative we are told. I was in the best shape of my life in Feb of 2010, to not execute on that fitness has always haunted me a little. I thought continuing to race afterward that year would help. But even though I set a PR at the 10k, 10 mile and ended up running 3:06 at Cincinnati (not a PR, but something to be proud of) – I’ve never been able to let go of New Orleans. Partly because it was scary. Partly because my ego was damaged and I haven’t wanted to be vulnerable again.
So this little build up I’ve had to make it here to Arkansas and run, I’ve worked hard on regaining mental focus and discipline. I have used a specific mantra and visualization for months, it goes like this:
Give me energy, power me up. Give my mind peace, happiness and joy. Give my spirit strength, which carries my body over this roads that I run.
As I get tired, or each day it may not be that phrase word for word – but 99%. As I say this, I turn my palms up to accept the energy and I visualize myself running an open road in Nebraska or sometimes I see an eagle chasing Billy Mills across the plains of South Dakota. Or sometimes I’ve even envisioned my body having a power indicator, just like my iphone – and it gets a little more charge.
The biggest goal tomorrow is to regain what was always one of my strength. Mental strength when I’m physically weak.
I heard on the Joe Rogan Podcast today a discussion of pain. They were talking of a rite of passage ceremony, though I don’t remember all the details. The message I took from it was that during the rite of passage the boys were able to take the pain they felt and turn it into energy of a different kind. That is the essence of running long, in so many ways.
2. A more tangible outcome is to run a negative split. My longest single run has been 13.4 miles in training, which was done primarily because I knew I couldn’t recover from the longer runs. I’ve done some of my double longs and triple long stacks, so I’m not terribly nervous – but I also don’t know what is going to happen after 18 or 19 miles.
To be able to run a negative split in this scenario will take a ton of race management, ego checking and execution. It will happen.
What I didn’t realize until today (zero race prep here!) was that the course was essentially three out and backs. So I’m thinking each loop should get faster.
3. Check Arkansas off the list. This alone is worth the trip.
4. Test and experiment with data. I will be using the following devices:
– Garmin 210
– Runkeeper Iphone App (I have an elite account, so you can track me live if you wanted)
– Fitbit, this will be my second marathon with it so it will be interesting to compare that data
– Polar Loop, my newest toy and I’ll pair it with my Polar H7 to pull heart rate data onto the loop.
You know what…
After writing this little post, I don’t feel quite like the coach that is not following his own advice after all. Still, it’s often better to do what I say, not what I do.
We started out a little late, but what would be a race experience if things started out on time? The first thing we did was make our way to Southland Drive to Donut Days to pick up a dozen donuts. Food for the soul when the ability to consume calories gets difficult. The car was tightly packed as Paula has all the things she needs for the triple, plus Philip and I fitting in our gear two… not to mention two bikes attached to the back.
The drive was not that exciting, it included a lot of coffee and a few stops – but we made our way to Virginia as efficiently as possible. The majority of the day was nice with good temps and sunny skies, but it started to rain a little the last half hour or so prior to ending up at Lake Anna. We quickly got the bikes in the cabin and headed off to the headquarters for the weekend.
We set up the tent, changing tent and Paula hung the South African flag. Did I mention that it started raining? Well, the rain hasn’t stopped in hours and it’s a little chilly. While the triple starts tomorrow at 7am Eastern, there are people that are a long ways into the bike already (doing the 5x!).
Paula made the check in and did the blood test, finger prick thingy – they said she was good (no blood doping for her… pure and legit!). We then had an opportunity to meet other athletes getting set up for the Triple tomorrow also. Ultra events are always enjoyable, as the athletes that are participating have a sense of being in something together, something special. It was also nice to meet some of the others that will be support crew.
The calm before the storm! Well, it has been storming all afternoon and evening – but you get the point. Paula is organized and ready to go. If you believe in prayer, send some requests for a change in weather and for strength for the athletes that have been going for 36 hours already in this stuff.
Really pumped that a friend turned me on to this guy’s videos.