Sunday, October 31, 2010

NYCM, You'll Be Mine

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Two
10/25/10 - 10/31/10 - Week Total: 13

In four days I am catching a red-eye to New York. Though the main motive of the trip is the New York City Marathon (NYCM), my ulterior motive is to be with my daughter. She will fly from La Romana, Dominican Republic to share the pre and post marathon moments and to enjoy 10 wonderful days of vacation together.

In regards the marathon strategy, I have no quantitative goals in mind. No time, no pace, no PR.

My goal is merely qualitative. To conquer the city running its five boroughs and enjoying the crowd, nearly two million spectators lining the course.

My goal is to carve the experience and memories in my heart, because NYCM, You'll Be Mine.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For The Love Of Racing

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Three
10/18/10 - 10/25/10 - Week Total: 19.1

My race to cover my long run of the week was going to be tough. I had a 20-miler over my legs, and the weather conditions were bad: 50°F, 90% rain, and 18mph winds. Not to mention that I needed to drive 100 miles to get to the race.

Who gets up a Sunday morning, drives 100 miles through a torrential down-pour, runs under heavy rain with heavier cross winds, and drives 100 miles back home? I do. And when I did, I felt happier than ever.

The initial miles were uneventful though I was really tired. At mile 8 I got nauseous. At mile 10 I was absolutely done and didn't have anything left to cover the last 3.1 miles. Then the rain came with fury and the cold cross winds moved me constantly to the sides of the road. However, throughout those 3 miles I felt peace, they were miles worth of running. I was out there by country roads, with my two legs and my heart, physically worn-out but emotionally strong, challenged by nature and its elements but being able to beat them. Though slow, I was running with an internal power giving me the impulse.

When I finished 15 minutes slower than my PR I was drenched, cold, and exhausted... and I felt thankful. But not thankful for having finished; thankful for the legs and the heart; for the people around me; for the opportunity; For The Love Of Racing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Hay Is In The Barn. Now To Stack It Properly. Tapering Begins!!!

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Four
10/11/10 - 10/17/10 - Week Total: 26.1

The training for my fourth marathon season is practically over. I had the great opportunity to do the last 20-miler as part of Poulsbo Half-marathon race and continue with the marathoners (I'd say to continue on the marathon course). I ran the first mile before the marathon as a warm-up, then went to attack a "hilly but manageable course".

The initial miles went really good, probably the warm-up helped. A trail interrupted my rhythm and the second half went really slow, however, I still finished with a good time due to my first 6 miles (3 splits at 9ish min/mile). At mile 12.5 the two races split, I finished, got my medal, ate half a banana, drank half a bottle of water, talked to some racers that finished close to me, and went back to the course to complete my 20-miler.

There was nobody on the course, therefore no race ambiance. It was too late for marathoners to get into mile 12.5 and too early for marathoners to come back, plus the adrenaline and endorphines were gone. And did I mentioned "challenging hilly"?. I planned on running three miles and come back, but when I saw the hill coming after 2.5 miles I changed course and decided to return.

When I got to the finish line area I had completed 19 miles. Should I stop or keep going? I was spent but I kept going, I was not going to quit with one mile left. Ran that mile in the parking lot of the High School back and forth, back and forth. Boring, yes, but flat.

The training for my fourth marathon season is practically over. The Hay Is In The Barn. Now To Stack It Properly. Tapering Begins!!!

 This Marathon Maniac ran in Poulsbo his Marathon #90

Splits     HR
9:37 157
9:29 169
10:08 170
9:44 174
10:28 176
10:43 170
11:38 169
11:20 166
11:22 152
11:51 166
11:35 169
12:09 175
11:07 179

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love, Food, Apples... And Some Worms

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Five
10/04/10 - 10/10/10 - Week Total: 19.2

A porta potty conversation can end in friendship. Weird, I know, but it can happen. From there, a picture, an email, a facebook friend request, a dinner in town, an invite to a race out of town, meeting the families, the hubbies, and the kids.

On race weekend, a warm hospitality, a welcome letter on my bed with drawings of the guests done by the kids. Follows the most wonderful carboload dinner: spinach pasta mixed with a delicious sort of caprese: tomato, lots of basil, olive oil, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

A race. A hilly race. A horrendously hilly race. But... in what I call home: Eastern Washington. Running by orchards with hundreds of apples trees, and the fruits at my reach. Reminiscence of a long-time-ago run in Wenatchee with my beautiful daughter Alejandra where we stole apples to calm our thirst.

Between the hills and the 20-miler I had run the previous weekend, my heart rate and system were about to shut down. At mile 7 I was done. If I would have not been in a race, I certainly would've quit. That's one of the reasons why I race, to avoid that the quitting thoughts triumph over me. I was at the point I couldn't run tall any longer. I looked down. And there they are, hundreds of smashed-by-cars worms, that got out of their soil for whatever reason. I may puke. Better run tall again.

And I kept going to find the last hill, at mile 9. A 0.5 mile hill with headwinds. The only thing missing is rain. And it rained. Looked down, no more worms.

It was a marvelous weekend, where I reaffirmed that running is not about running. It's about the people you meet during the journey. People that share with you a critical part of your life. People who you can share with Love, Food, Apples... And Some Worms.

I am glad I am building a comparison chart for all my races, because permits me understand better how my system works. The hills explain the splits and my back-n-forth HR says it all.

Splits      HR
11:02 167
11:28 173
11:12 167
10:38 174
10:33 169
11:36 171
12:53 174
12:08 162
11:45 172
11:47 162
12:17 165
11:03 174
10:02 180

Sunday, October 3, 2010

LSD Stands For Long, Slow, Dreadful

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Six
09/27/10 - 10/03/10 - Week Total: 29.2

No race this weekend. I didn't find anything in the area, and I needed to complete a 20-miler (sighs!).

I know the drill. I have close to home a 7-mile loop  that I used to run 3 times. Now, I just run to the loop from my home (3 miles), two loops and come back home for a 20-miler. But... I went for a 20-miler two weeks ago, and at mile 12 I was dragging my feet and decided to go home, ending with a 15-miler instead.

This week I decided to change terrain. Being so close to home can easily convince me of quitting if the run is not going well, and as I know myself, without the adrenaline and endorphins that racing provides me, I knew the run was going to be tough. 

The route selected: Burke-Gilman Trail which is a Seattle's 27-mile trail, that I have never run before. Plan: run 10 miles from Kenmore to University of Washington (UW) and come back. Mode: LSD (Long, slow distance). With this plan, there was no chance of quitting; I needed to come back, and there was nobody there to save me.

So there I went to cover the distance, trying to entertain myself discovering each segment of the trail. There were tons of cyclists and runners as Seattleites, in general, are very passionate outdoors people. This trail is connected to Lake Sammamish Trail providing us with an unbroken trail segment of 42 miles, highly used by bike commuters. Seattleites, in general, are also very green.

The first 9 miles were at a nice steady pace, but after the turn around in UW I started to feel it. How come this doesn't happen in a race? With ONLY ten more miles to go I slowed down. And the slow pace, became super slow, and the super slow pace, became super, super slow. At mile 15 I stopped for the restroom, washed my face and filled a bottle of water.

When I clocked mile 19, I changed to first gear and ran the last mile like my first miles, then I saw my car. It was over. It was like taking a bitter cough syrup.

I am confident of my racing paces, so I am not concerned about this run. I just needed to get it done. It was indeed an LSD. LSD Stands For Long, Slow, Dreadful.