I’m really glad my neighbor, John Kohler, asked me to come down and run a leg of this cross-country relay with him. Check out the website and consider donating to the One Fund. You’ll have to drive farther than I did to catch it now though – they are east of St. Louis by now.

We began the morning in Newburg, a small community southwest of Rolla. This is one of those towns that used to be bigger than it is now, but my initial impression of a ghost town was later turned around by the appearance of a huge group of kids that came out to cheer us as the baton was passed from the previous stage to ours.

John and I were joined by Amanda, from Rolla, and Tony, from St. Clair. A pair of local runners from another stage also joined us through the streets of downtown Rolla. Nice folks, all. Committed runners, all. The four of us all found that we had shed significant weight through running in the last decade.

We had great support from local law enforcement. A Phelps Co. Sheriff’s deputy followed us the whole way, and various municipalities – Doolittle and Rolla, at least, were on the point through intersections. An over-used term – it was rock star/parade type treatment. The added safety and visibility was much appreciated. Thank you!

It was a hot day! The baton was about an hour behind, so it was every bit of 10am when we started our 11 miles. Some new blacktop in places pumped up the temp. I needed more water than I could carry – so it was great to have a support crew in John’s in-laws. The enthusiasm and support of his family was fantastic.

It was a great day for a great cause!

There was a nice article about John and the run in the KC Star sports section on Thursday. We also got some coverage in the local Rolla paper:


Let the training begin! Topping 300 miles in the @mizunorunning Wave Evo Cursoris

Just noticed that the Cursoris – my go-to training shoe right now – went over 300 miles on the odometer this week. Love this shoe. It’s holding up well with no signs of imminent failure.

I started a new training program Sunday – albeit with a recovery run. 4 months to October 19th, 18 week program. I hit the elliptical Monday and Tuesday so I could do a tempo run with Nelson this am. We did 5 miles at pace (ok, I did 4.5, but there was a good reason which I am not going to describe…). Plus a 1 mile warm-up, 1 mile cool-down. Also a 2 mile round trip bike ride to our meet-up on the trail. I’ve decided I’m going to motivate myself for the KC Marathon by doing a running tally of goal pace miles. My goal pace is 6:51. I’m going to count any full mile that’s sub-7 minutes as a GP mile. So, I logged 4 of those today. Now if I can just string together 26.2 of those, I’ll break 3 hours. Easy, right?

Here’s a few shots of the soles:




The Next Step(s)

I sat down last night after work to finish personalizing a training plan from “Advanced Marathoning” by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. My training plan is for my next goal race: the Kansas City Marathon in October. It’s based on the 18 week AM plan with mileage up to 55 miles per week (max). AM has 8 sets of plans. Four different mileage max amounts, 2 different lengths – 12 and 18 weeks. The mileage levels START at 55 miles per week and go up in 15 mile increments from there, with the most intense plan bearing the foreboding, open-ended label “Marathon Training on More Than 85 Miles Per Week.” So I’m on the “starter” plan.

I’ve plugged everything into an excel spreadsheet so I can use it in the future by simply plugging in the date of race week. The spreadsheet will then calculate the rest of the dates (not hard).

Just in time, too! I knew in the back of my mind I’d have a few limbo weeks after Hospital Hill, but as I was constructing the training plan I was one week off because of the way it’s labeled. When I finished it last night, I realized that training starts Sunday. Yikes! Err, I mean, yay!

Here’s a link to a PDF version if anyone’s curious:

Advanced Marathoning 55 Miles per week 18-week schedule

I made some modifications to the AM plan which hopefully don’t mess up all the good exercise physiology that Pete and Scott put into it. The AM plan is based on a Sunday long run, which doesn’t work for me – I’m just not going to get up that early before church. Also, I usually do a recovery-effort run with Nelson Sunday am. It would be possible to splice a long run into either end of that, but it’s just not ideal, again particularly given the necessary alarm-clock setting.

I tried to give the most attention to the day before and after the long run. I have always preferred an “easy” day before and after – duh! Generally speaking that’s AM’s thinking too, especially the day after. However, AM usually puts an “easy” run the day before the long run, and rest or cross-training the day after. So basically I am subbing a recovery run for the cross-training. Hopefully I am not hindering recovery too much, but I have been doing recovery runs the day after long runs for a while now anyway.

Due to my modifications there are some “extras” I may have to ignore on the Sundays that are more than recovery runs. E.g., tuneup races and a little bit of striding.

While I’m on that subject, there is a lot less speed work in this plan than in the Eladio Valdez plan I’ve used in the past. The authors acknowledge this: “Looking at these schedules, you might be wondering, Where are all the “speed” workouts?” Their response is that their workouts focus on endurance, lactate threshold, and VO2max. Speed is less important for the marathon.

On the other hand, that’s the perfect segue to pace. There’s speed, then there’s speed. Chances are, if you’re trying to follow a plan out of a book called “Advanced Marathoning,” you have an ambitious pace goal. My new pace goal is very ambitious – a sub-3:00 marathon, averaging a 6:51 min/mile pace. Backing out the predictor paces (half marathon, 15K, 5K) that leads to some pretty crazy-fast paces at times – brief spurts of sub 6:00 min/mile, e.g. These training paces are intimidating! I am rationalizing it this way: I seem to be able to race a bit faster than my training paces might predict. So, if I am not hitting these pace goals during training, I’m not going to become discouraged. Also, I don’t expect to blow through 3:00 on the tough KC course. That doesn’t mean I won’t try, but my PR is 3:11 on a flatter course, and just under 3:14 on the KC course. I’ll look to go sub 3 perhaps at Boston in Spring 2014, or find a flat fall 2014 race like Chicago.

So, there it is. I’ve been blessed with injury-free summer training the last two years. I pray my body can hold up to this schedule. If I follow the plan to a T, I’ll be adding another running day to what I typically have done – which is to run 4 days a week. If I feel like I am overtraining, I’ll have to sub back in a cross-train day for one of the lighter running workouts – something I may just do preventatively.

I’m looking forward to the next step(s)!

Millenium Club

One of my goals this year is to break the 1000 mile barrier. I’ve been in the 900s the last two years since I started keeping track and running more miles. However, discretion has been the better part of valor, and while dialing back the miles after fall marathons I’ve come up short. This year might give me a better shot, since my 1 month running break started in December and ended part of the way through January. Last year my layoff was the month of March, with no spring marathon.

I went over 500 miles Saturday the 8th. It’s looking good so far!

Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon – coping with success?

It’s taken me some time to cope with this run (June 1st) so I’m just now getting to blogging about it.

I had set a lofty goal of breaking 1:30. I ran a 1:31:28 – a PR by roughly 6 minutes for me. On the other hand, measuring it against my two other half marathons, that’s not saying much. One was my first endurance race, the second was with an abbreviated training schedule after coming off of a layoff.

True confessions – I was really hoping I could breeze to a sub 1:30, which would give me some confidence for a sub 3:00 marathon. (The ULTIMATE goal in my sights right now). I still think that’s doable on a flat course in good weather conditions.

So, I’m a bit disappointed. I feel like I had a sub-1:30 in me, but just didn’t push hard enough. The main lesson I learned from this race is “run your own race.” I had hoped to lock in with the 1:30 pace group and coast to victory. In retrospect, they went out slower than I would have, and tried to make up a 1 minute deficit too quickly. I clocked a bunch of miles in the middle of this race that were well under my goal pace – and one of them was while I was getting left behind by the pacer. However, I’m not passing the buck. I’ll just be wiser next time. I have run some good races with and without pacers – but I have never crossed the finish line with one. I have found them most helpful in dragging me out to a faster pace than I might go out at, then hanging on (I know, this is not exactly the “preferred” negative split strategy).

The rest of the rundown, for personal posterity:

Overall place: 144 out of 4279
Age grade: 67.84% (I’m sniffing Regional Class at 70% but still in Local Class at 60-69%)
Pace: 6:59 (Goal pace was 6:51)
Age group place (M40-44):14 out of 284

I ran in the Asics Piranhas. More blistering than the recent Garmin marathon, but on a hillier course. Nothing major. However, I think I’ll need an alternative for the KC Marathon in October.

Props to Nelson for running his own race, and getting his sub-1:30!