Marathon of a training week

When I posted my previous update last Sunday evening, I was somewhere above Colorado en route from Falmouth back to Eugene.  I wrote about how much I was looking forward to finally sleeping in my own bed and getting back to a regular routine.  Well, United Airlines had other plans for me.  Rather than arriving in Eugene late Sunday night, I didn’t make it back until Monday afternoon around 3:30pm thanks to 2 cancelled flights and a lengthy delay on flight #3.

Certainly not the most ideal way to kick-off the biggest training week of my marathon block, but some things are out of your control.  Running 150 miles in a week is hard enough, so I wasn’t thrilled about beginning the week unnecessarily behind schedule.  I readjusted my goals for the week and chose to turn my focus to my two main workouts and if I ended up reaching my mileage goals, then great.

What followed this week, surprised even me.  I went to do my hill circuit in Hendrick’s Park on Wednesday and ended up doing the most repeats I’ve ever done before (13 loops) then yesterday’s 30-mile long run / workout ended up being probably the best workout of my life.  The plan was to try and run 30 miles as follows: miles 1-5: easy, relaxed; miles 6-16: @ 6:00 pace; miles 17-18, relaxed; miles 19-24, alternating 5:00 / 6:00; miles 25-28, @ 5:10 average; 29-30, easy.  As you can see below, it went pretty much as scripted…maybe even better than planned.  30 miles @ 5:53 pace, with the last 12 averaging ~5:30 — now that’s a marathon workout!  Being able to nail a workout like this gives me a lot of confidence as the Chicago Marathon draws nearer.  Most importantly though, I woke up this morning feeling fine and the legs were good for an easy 14 miles.

And despite the rough start to my week, I ended up reaching my goal of running 150 miles (*as long as I make it out the door for my afternoon run).  A lesson in life: you can either complain about the cards your dealt or you can work your ass off to change the narrative of the story that’s being written.  You get to control your attitude and outlook; make them performance enhancers, not inhibitors.

I became tougher this week.  And a better runner.  One step closer to a breakthrough in Chicago.

Distance Split Time Elevation Gain Elevation Loss
1 mile 1 06:51.1 24
1 mile 2 06:40.1
1 mile 3 06:41.5 10
1 mile 4 06:30.0 7
1 mile 5 06:14.7 5
1 mile 6 05:59.7 3 8
1 mile 7 06:02.9 32 34
1 mile 8 06:02.4 20 65
1 mile 9 05:51.5 56
1 mile 10 05:52.6 9
1 mile 11 05:44.3
1 mile 12 05:54.6 7 11
1 mile 13 05:55.3 9
1 mile 14 05:52.5
1 mile 15 05:53.6 24 29
1 mile 16 05:54.5 16 76
1 mile 17 06:07.1 64
1 mile 18 05:59.4 9 12
1 mile 19 04:56.6 5
1 mile 20 05:55.9 6
1 mile 21 04:59.1
1 mile 22 05:56.4 6
1 mile 23 04:50.5 11 13
1 mile 24 06:17.3 20 75
1 mile 25 05:17.5 52 23
1 mile 26 05:07.3 27
1 mile 27 05:08.7 5 10
1 mile 28 05:06.2 2
1 mile 29 06:19.3 6 3
1 mile 30 06:13.3
0.01 31 :04.2
30.01 Summary 56:20.0 389 407
5:53 avg.


8/18-24 AM PM Total
Monday OFF 16 miles; 45 mins S&C 16
Tuesday 14 miles 7 miles 21
Wednesday 4 mile warmup. 13 x Hendrick’s Hill Loop. 5 mile cooldown. 15 miles total. 7 miles 22
Thursday 13 miles; 45 mins S&C 8 miles 21
Friday 13 miles 7 miles 20
Saturday 30 mile long run / workout OFF 30
Sunday 14 miles 6 miles 20
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Wait, it’s August 17th already?

It’s hard to believe that the Chicago Marathon is just 8 short weeks away. Where has the time gone? It feels like June just happened. And yet – boom! – we are already halfway through August! The summer months always seem to fly by, but this summer has been traveling at Audubon-like speed. These feelings may stem from the fact that I’ve slept in my own bed exactly 14 times over the past 52 days.

Despite trying to keep up with the chaotic schedule, which included working a trio of middle school and high schools camps (always fun to do!), travels to Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, Washington, Massachusetts and around Oregon, and an action-packed week of hosting the Eugene Marathon and the World Junior Championships in Eugene, I’ve somehow found a way to string together a pretty solid last 4 weeks of training.  The average weekly mileage over those 7+ weeks? Right at 120 miles per week.

I left Oregon for my last trip of the summer this past Friday. My destination was the Massachusetts cape for the annual Falmouth Road Race. Although my training has been pretty good, especially these past few weeks, I traveled with a bit of uncertainty as to how my body would respond on race day because of my recent nomadic lifestyle, which usually doesn’t lend itself to racing well. With modified expectations, I looked forward to breaking up the monotony of marathon training by taking in one last change of scenery and soaking up the local residents’ infectious pride they have for their prestigious race and quaint town.

Kathy and I post-race

Kathy and I post-race

One of the unique aspects of the Falmouth Road Race is that the race staff matches elite runners with a host family, who graciously open up their homes to us. Don’t get me wrong, I stay in some really nice hotels throughout the year, but being able to enjoy a home-cooked meal and have a bedroom to yourself is a nice change of pace. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people.

My host this year was Kathy Scadden, who actually lived in Woods Hole about 2 blocks from the start line. Kathy, along with her two daughters, were Amazing-with-a-capital-A hosts! They truly made me feel like I was a part of their family; it was as if they were meeting this long-lost nephew/cousin for the first time. We had some great conversations over several wonderful meals and they did their best to show me around town, even taking me out on the water in their boat. More than anything, it was invigorating to be around ambitious people. They set the tone for Sunday’s race.

Giving them the Zoolander-Blue-Steel look!

Giving them the Zoolander-Blue-Steel look!

As for the actual running part of my trip, it was more good than bad. I finished 8th overall and ran 34:04 (4:50 per mile) for the rolling and scenic 7.1 mile course. Along with being my highest finish at Falmouth (I was 27th in 2011 and 22nd in 2012), it was also my fastest finishing time. And of the three years I’ve run Falmouth, this was easily the warmest, with the sun beating down on the runners as we made our way along the coast from Woods Hole to Falmouth. Running these shorter races in the middle of marathon training for me is always a bit of a crapshoot because there’s really just not any spring in my stride. But doing well gives me a lot of confidence because I know if I can run fast during my heavy training cycles, I’ll be in good position when it’s time to peak. And it’s been fun to be somewhat competitive this summer at these shorter races (referencing both Peachtree and Falmouth).

Top 5 American finishers with the ALL-Americans: Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, and Meb.

Top 5 American finishers with the ALL-Americans: Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, and Meb.

So that’s the update. I won’t be leaving Oregon again over the next 2 months and I’m really looking forward to 8 consecutive weeks of normalcy: run, eat, work, run, eat, sleep; repeat. I’ve set the Chicago-marathon-bar high for myself and know that there is lots of work to be done between now and October 12th, but weekends (and races) like this only fuel my fire.

For those of you nerdy-runner folk (not an insult, I’m one of you!), below is a look at my past month of training. I won’t post weekly updates like I did for Boston, but I’ll make sure you see behind the curtains as Chicago approaches. Enjoy!

**I’m posting this message somewhere above Colorado on my flight from Boston to San Francisco – how cool is technology!!

8/11-17 AM PM Total
Monday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Tuesday 3 mile warmup. 25 x 400m, :45 rest. 3 mile cooldown 6 miles 19
Wednesday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Thursday 3 mile warmup. 8 mile tempo. 8 x 300m, :45 rest. 3 mile cooldown. OFF 16
Friday 12 miles OFF 12
Saturday 7 miles OFF 7
Sunday Falmouth Road Race: 34:04 (4:50/mile @ 7.1 miles). OFF 15
8/4-10 AM PM Total
Monday 23 miles (miles 17-21 @ tempo pace). OFF 23
Tuesday 11 miles 6 miles 17
Wednesday 13 6 miles 19
Thursday 3 mile warmup. 6 x 1 mile hard / 1k float, continuous. 3 mile cooldown. 15 miles total. 6 miles 21
Friday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Saturday 4 mile warmup. 8 x Hendricks Hill repeats. 4 mile cooldown. 6 miles 18
Sunday 20 miles OFF 20
7/28-8/3 AM PM Total
Monday 11 miles 7 miles 18
Tuesday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Wednesday 3 mile warmup. 4 x 400m / 2 mile tempo / 4 x 400m / 2 mile tempo / 4 x 400m. 3 mile cooldown. 6 miles 19
Thursday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Friday 6 miles 12 miles 18
Saturday 3 mile warmup. 3 mile tempo / 6 mins of 100m on/off. 3 mile tempo, 4 mile cooldown 6 miles 21
Sunday 13 miles 7 miles 20
7/21-27 AM PM Total
Monday 12 miles 7 miles 19
Tuesday 16 miles: 12 miles (4 easy, 8 @ threshold). 10 x 100m strides. 1 mile hard. 3 mile cooldown. 6 miles 22
Wednesday 15 miles OFF 15
Thursday 6 miles 3 mile warmup. 4 mile tempo, :90 rest, hard 1 mile, :60 rest, hard 800m. 3 mile cooldown 17
Friday 10 miles 5 miles 15
Saturday 7 miles w/ drills OFF 7
Sunday Pace Eugene Marathon @ 5:12 for 18.5 miles. OFF 23
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