Another 12 miles with Team Williams

It was 26 degrees today (at the start anyway, it was probably less than that 2 hours later when we finished) but at least it was clear. We unanimously decided we prefer 26 and clear to 38 and rainy! And while some people would consider 26 balmy (a friend ran yesterday morning when the wind chill was 6 degrees) we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

Conversation topics ranged from our preferred training conditions, bike trainers, and why Glen wore sunglasses, to business marketing ideas and the relative benefits of mid-trail modified Tai chi for an audience of goats.

It was a good run for me. I felt good even though it’s the first long run we’ve done under the 10min/mile average. Mackenzie was especially stalwart, having not run in 10 days and missing last week’s “recovery’ 10 miles.

Activity details here.

The post-run photo is becoming a fun “thing” so I’ll keep posting them, to liven-up my dry blog entries if nothing else.

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12 more miles with Tim and MJ

One nice thing about training in the cold is the B&A Trail is a lot less crowded. This stands to reason: the sane people not only have no need to prove to anyone they can run/walk/skip/ride/amble in the cold, but they also know to simply avoid the crazy people who do.

Cold and clear and hard. This is my first ever run on the B&A. I’ve biked on it some, but it’s nice to be able to move slower and actually see what’s around you. On the bike I end up so busy concentrating on staying on Tim’s wheel and navigating around other trail users that I don’t get to see much of the scenery. I also never noticed just how long and steep the hill is that leads from the parking lot to the trail head. Pushing up that half-mile hill right out of the starting blocks, before I’m warmed up and comfortable, is…well, uncomfortable. (One of the reasons for my sub-mediocre endurance athleteness is that I don’t suffer well. Sure, spin me around in an airplane, turn me green in an Atlantic Ocean gale, or ask me to eat the same thing for lunch for a year and I’m fine. Actually with aplomb, as I’ve been told. But push me into the red-zone during a long training session and I’ll get quiet and really, really want to stop.)

Highlights included finding two lacrosse balls, separately (which kept me entertained for quite a while), the new sport of the “bamboo javelin toss” coming to a winter Olympics near you, and a very brief juggling exhibition consisting of lacrosse balls and a basketball. I eventually donated the lacrosse balls to the Williams family sports equipment inventory and no, I did not carry the basketball with me during the run…it was left where I found it.

Activity stats from my Garmin

To quote Mackenzie, “It looks like Glen gained ten pounds on the run.” It’s the camera adding weight, I swear.

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12 miles with Tim and Mackenzie

This was a satisfying run to finish. Cold, rainy, grey weather made the motivation hard to find. (I found mine hiding behind a chain link fence; my motivation isn’t that bright.) Starting at City Dock, we went out to Greenbury Point and back. We were all surprised by the number of dog walkers and families we passed on the Greenbury loop. The cold rain and muddy track would have made me go elsewhere if I was just looking for a nice place for an afternoon walk.

I feel pretty good right now, except for my all of my legs, back, shoulders, torso, and head.

Stats and track here.

To celebrate the event, and provide some evidence of our hard-coreness, here’s the post-training mugshot.

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The plan

Tim picked out what I think is a great plan. It’s not too high-mileage and has track and tempo workouts included. It won’t be his first, he’s done three others, but it will be a first for Mackenzie and me.

Take a look at the source here: http://www.marathon-training-program.com/three-day-program-finish.html

Editors note: I’ve just copied the content here for easy reference. -gb

The Finish with FIRST Training Program is designed for runners looking to complete their first marathon.

The Finish with FIRST training program below includes weekly long runs starting at 8 miles and gradually increasing to 20 miles three weeks before the marathon date.

Previous FIRST marathon training results indicate that runners are able to run a successful marathon running only 3 days a week, following a specific training plan, and cross-training. This training program has produced good results with Key Run #1 run on Tuesday, Key Run #2 run on Thursday and the long run completed on the weekend. Runners can do the three key workouts in any order throughout the week; however, you need to allow at least one day between the key workouts. Runners are encouraged to either cross-train or complete easy runs on other days of the week.

Pacing is a crucial component to this training program. From our running experience and previous research, it appears that training intensity is the most important factor for improving the physiological processes that determine running performance. The paces in training program are based on current best 10K RACE pace.

For Key Run #1, the pace is faster than your current 10K pace. For example, a 45 minute 10K run averages 7:15 / mile during the 10K race. For Key Run #1, the pace averages 45 seconds per mile faster than 10K race pace. In this case, 6:30 / mile (7:15 – 0:45 = 6:30/mile) pace for the given distance. A 400m repeat would be run in 1:37 while an 800m repeat would be run in 3:15, for example. The amount of rest/recovery interval (RI) between repeats is indicated in parentheses and may be a timed rest/recovery interval or distance that you walk/jog.

For Key Run #2, the pace is slightly slower than 10K race pace but faster than average training pace. This pace is referred to as “tempo” or “threshold” pace. Using the 45 minute 10K time as an example, the tempo pace for Key Run #2 is 15 to 30 seconds slower than race pace or 7:30 – 7:45 / mile.

For Key Run #3, the pace is determined by your Planned Marathon Pace ( PMP = 10K pace plus 45 seconds). For the 45 minute 10K performer, PMP = 8:00 /mile pace (7:15 plus 45 seconds).

FIRST Marathon Training Program Sample Week

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Cross-train or Easy Run Key Run #1 Cross-train
30 – 45 min.
Key Run #2 Off Key Run #3 Cross-train 30 -45 min.
Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
18 10 minute warm-up

6 x (1 minute fast then 3 min. easy)

10 minute cool-down

2 miles easy,

2 miles @ Tempo pace

2 miles easy

Distance: 8 miles

Pace: PMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
17 13 minute warm-up

6 x (1 minute fast then 2 min. easy)

13 minute cool-down

2 miles easy,

2 miles @ Tempo pace

2 miles easy

Distance: 9 miles

Pace: PMP + 15 sec. / mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
16 10 minute warm-up

4 x (3 minute fast then 3 min. easy)

10 minute cool-down

2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Tempo pace

1 miles easy

Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
15 10-20 minute warm-up

12 x 400 (90 sec. RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

4 mile run @ Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 11 miles

Pace: PMP + 45 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
14 10-20 minute warm-up

6 x 800m (90 sec. RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 miles @ Tempo pace Distance: 12 miles

Pace: PMP + 45-60 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
13 10-20 minute warm-up

3 x 1600m (3 min. RI)

10 minute cool-down

2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Tempo pace

2 miles easy

Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PMP + 45-60 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
12 10-20 minute warm-up

5 x 1K (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

4 miles @ Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 12 miles

Pace: PMP + 45-60 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
11 10-20 minute warm-up

5 x (2 min. fast / 2 min. easy)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

7 miles @ Tempo pace

Distance: 13 miles

Pace: PMP + 15 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
10 10-20 minute warm-up

4 x 800m ( 1:30 RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

5 mile run @ Tempo pace

Distance: 14 miles

Pace: PMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
9 10-20 minute warm-up

2 x (4 x 400) (1:30 RI)
(2:30 RI between sets)

10 minute cool-down

8 miles

10K pace + 40 sec.

Distance: 12 miles

Pace: PMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
8 10-20 minute warm-up

1 mile (400m RI), 2 miles (800m RI), 2 x 800 (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Tempo pace

2 miles easy

Distance: 16 miles

Pace: PMP + 30-45 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
7 10-20 minute warm-up

1K, 2K, 1K, 1K (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

9 miles

10K pace + 40 sec.

Distance: 13 miles

Pace: PMP + 10 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
6 10-20 minute warm-up

3 x 1600m (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

4 miles @ Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 18 miles

Pace: PMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
5 10-20 minute warm-up

10 x 400 (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

5 mile run @ Tempo pace

Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PMP

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
4 10-20 minute warm-up

5 x (2 min. fast / 2 min. easy)

10 minute cool-down

8 miles

10K pace + 40 sec.

Distance: 20 miles

Pace: PMP +30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
3 10-20 minute warm-up

2 x 2 mile (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

5 mile run @ Tempo pace

Distance: 13 miles

Pace: PMP

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
2 10-20 minute warm-up

5 x 1K (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 8 – 10 miles

Pace: PMP

Race Week Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3
1 10-20 minute warm-up

6 x 400 (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

3 mile run @ PMP Marathon Day

Distance: 26.2miles

Pace: Marathon Pace

Charlottesville, here we come

With the success (read: my back hasn’t stopped me) of our 10k effort, we’ve decided to target the Charlottesville Marathon on April 9th, 2011. Tim has done this one before, and the associated Half, so there’s some familiarity. It’s supposed to be a very scenic route. I think what that means is: ignore the “rolling” hills you’re trying to run and distract yourself with the bucolic vistas. Hey, works for me.

Camp Letts Turkey Chase 10K


The Camp Letts Turkey Chase 10K is a nice local event that is the camp’s largest fundraiser. The camp sits on a great little peninsula sticking out into the Rhode River, off Chesapeake Bay, just south of Annapolis. It was a good fit for us when we were looking for a local Thanksgiving Day event to kick-start our marathon training. And it benefits a good cause!

The grey drizzle wasn’t that inspiring but of course we managed to have a good time anyway. We had family visiting for the Turkey Holiday and the house was quiet and warm when Tim and Mackenzie picked me up about 7am. We showed up early enough to avoid the worst of the traffic. After looking around, learning the layout, finding the start line and generally settling in, we had some time to kill. Tim and I geeked around with Angry Birds on his iPad for a few minutes, holding it under the open trunk of his car to keep it out of the light drizzle. Mackenzie was smart enough to sit in the car, stay warm, and generally be embarrassed by her father and his friend. Andréa came out later to cheer for us, even though she wasn’t running. (When she does run, she actually wins these kinds of events!)

57 minutes! A new PR for me. I felt like I’d cooked myself at about mile 4 but recovered enough on a small downhill that I didn’t slow down much. It was a nice track, lots of wooded trails and not much pavement.

Mackenzie took the prize for our group in 51 minutes and Tim was a scant 45 seconds behind her.

Data from my Garmin 305 here. “Official” results here. (It’s a nice low-key event but they do give prizes, so the placing is important. At least to those of us in danger of winning.)

Mackenzie joins the campaign

Tim’s 15 year old daughter Mackenzie will be joining our running “group”. I think it’s really cool that she wants to do this with her dad. And I’m impressed that she can even consider spending that much time with us.

Mackenzie, let me apologize now for the endless hours of geek-talk to which you’ll be subjected. Your dad and I can talk about smartphones, mobile apps, new web technologies, sailboat racing, swimming/cycling/running, and anything remotely related to any or all of these for hours.

You have both my heartiest respect and my humblest sympathies. 🙂

Welcome aboard.

Marathon training has begun

A very good friend made the mistake of saying he’d train with me if I wanted to sign up for a marathon. It would be a mis-statement to say I “wanted” to run a marathon (I certainly want to have run one), but I was deep in the throes of an early-winter-lack-of-motivation and was desperate for a reason to keep active. So…I said ok. And ok, yes…I have to admit, for full disclosure, I think it’ll be fun.

We came up with a plan for a Thanksgiving turkey trot 10k of some kind to get us started. If that went ok and my back seemed willing, we’d use that base to roll into a marathon plan.

So far, so good. We’re signed up for the Camp Letts Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving Day.

My first Half-Ironman complete!

Ok, so the posts have been a little thin…I’m not much of a blogger. But the big news is I completed my first half-ironman under my own power and feeling good.

My goal was the ubiquitous ‘just finish’ so I had fun and took it very easy. The truth is my training was no where near what I wanted so I didn’t feel the confidence that goes with feeling prepared. I had never swam the distance, ridden the distance, or run the distance. I had no idea what to expect. On top of that it was hot and humid. The heat index was reported at 101F. A lot of starters didn’t finish.

The big stressor of the day was warm water: for the first time in a long time (I heard 17 years) the water was too warm for wetstuits. Typically amateurs are allowed to wear wetsuits in water temps between 78F and 84F but aren’t eligible for prizes or placings. In this case the organizers, maybe because they hadn’t needed to deal with it in such a long time and didn’t have a method for recording who wore one and who didn’t, chose to disallow wetsuits for everyone. Well, for many of us this was not what we wanted to hear. In fact, at least one person didn’t start the “race” because they were so concerned. I never considered bailing, but I sure was nervous about it. The wetsuit is a safety blanket for us barely-ready-for-the-distance types. It’s not the cold we’re worried about, but the drowning. (Or at least the “using so much energy for the swim that we can’t lift our arms to put on our helmets.”)

The swim turned out to be fine, just longer than I hoped. Even being in the largest start wave of the day I was able to start clean, without any problems (of course there’s bumping any time that many people put their faces in the water and swim generally in the same direction, but no real kicks or swim-overs) and found my groove easily. There was a little extra effort and concern required after the first turn to swim across the current but no problems.

In T1 I took my time and put on plenty of sunblock. I knew I would be exposed to the all of the most direct sun. That’s another advantage of being fit and fast; you spend less time getting burned.

The ride was mostly uneventful. I really took it easy since I knew I would be suffering on the run regardless. I was going to be ok ‘suffering’ on the run, not ‘collapsing’. The ride is very flat, not technical, and scenic enough that I never really felt any mental strain for the 3+ hours. I rarely even got into Zone 2 heart rate and saved those times for when the wind was worst, just to keep a constant pace. I made sure to apply sunblock to keep the shoulders and knees from frying. Toward the end I definitely felt ready to be done with the bike, but that went away as soon as I got back into town and was reminded, by those already on the course, that I still had 13.1 miles to run. I’d rather stay on the bike another two hours, thankyouverymuch.

T2 was relaxed and slower than T1. I put on more sunblock and thankfully had brought another pair of socks for the run.

I had my first experience with leg cramps on the first two miles of the run. I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek because they never really cramped, just spent a lot of time reminding me they were there and threatening to cramp. I figured I was a little under hydrated, astoundingly, so walked a bit and took Gatorade Endurance from every water stop. The bad news was even after the legs felt good, running for even 10 minutes put my heart rate in Zone 4…I can’t maintain that effort even on a day without the extra anquish that comes from heat and buckets of sweat. And there wasn’t any amount of ‘slow’ that was enough to keep the HR down in the sustainable range. I had hoped to run the whole 13.1 miles and that was now out-the-window. In the end I don’t know exactly, my Garmin 305 died at mile 5, but a conservative guess is I walked almost half the run. ah well. Next time more fitness and more hydration.

I finished in 7 hours 15 minutes. What’s more, I felt good. Don’t mistake, I was happy to be done but didn’t want to die either. I know my effort level for the whole day was not “race pace”, and in fact was less than “training pace”, but in the days following I felt good. Little blisters on the feet from the walking in soaked socks, good sunburns on my back where the jersey didn’t cover and I didn’t know to reach, but other than that no serious muscle soreness or pain. I went on a very light ride two days later and it felt great. We certainly didn’t push hard and it felt great to get the muscles moving.

Overall, I definitely erred on the side of caution, but I met all my goals: ‘Finish’, ‘don’t injure myself’, ‘don’t embarrass myself’, in that order.
Detailed results here.

Next year, a time goal!

Basement Training Center

So I’ve only been active in triathlon for a couple years and am not what I would call hard-core, especially in terms of “performance”, but I don’t have a problem running or riding outside in the cold. (Here I’m talking Annapolis, mid-atlantic cold…not Minnesota cold.)

Treadmill and trainer

New basement decorations - Treadmill and trainer

But this winter has been terrible for getting outside to do either. Freakin’ El Niño (which is Spanish for “the niño”) has dumped record snows and the temps have kept those twelve dozen feet of snow on the ground longer than usual. Two weeks after the this last storm and the sidewalks are still covered, travel lanes narrow, and almost every intersection is a blind turn thanks to the piles of dirty white stuff. Translation: train indoors or just plain nap. While I’m an inappropriately huge fan of the practice, no amount of Nap Mastery is going to get me through a half ironman un-embarrassed. With a new house (read: more space and less money) we’ve dropped our various gym memberships and have gone anti-social. A craigslist treadmill and a cheap, sale-priced-plus-membership-club-discounted cycle trainer have become my torture dujour.

Basement view of the South Forty

This indoor stuff is all new to us but I’ve already found the motivation to start work on the “distraction center”. 30 minutes on the treadmill is doable but, even with a nice view of the snowy south forty, 90 minutes on the trainer without more stimulation (read: brain candy) is just cruel and unusual.