Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fukuoka Marathon

It has been a very long 4 weeks since the New York marathon was cancelled. It's difficult to predict how the body will react after peaking fully for a race and then having 4 weeks to reset. After speaking with several other athletes in the same situation I realized that there is certainly no consensus on how to approach the next race. My coach and I decided it would be best to bring the mileage back up and recreate the last 4 weeks of training leading up to New York. I didn't come back to peak mileage, but started at 130 and slowly worked back down with the majority of workouts focused on threshold pace. Having never experienced this before, it is difficult to predict what Fukuoka will bring this weekend, but my workouts have continued to improve and I'm still feeling fresh. I'm determined to not waste the fitness I had built leading up to NYC. With that said, this will be 18 straight weeks of training, and I will be grateful for the break that will follow the marathon on Sunday. My wife and I will be traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia for a couple of weeks where I look forward to a little down time and hopefully reflecting on a positive marathon experience.

The race has a very deep field. It's a fast course, so everyone here is geared up to go out fast and nail a great time. There will be two pace groups, the first starting around 4:48 per mile and the second at approximately 4:58. I will certainly be attaching myself to that second group at 2:10 pace. It will be quite a bit faster than I went out in my first marathon in Houston, but my training has shown that I am prepared for this kind of pace.  I want to come away from Japan with a solid personal best and another positive step toward Rio in 2016.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Great North Run Follow-up

It's been a little while since the Great North Run in Newcastle, but it's been a busy couple of weeks with my travel back to Portland after 2 and a half months in Europe. The race was a fantastic experience. I was excited to hit a solid half-marathon PR (62:04) in the middle of marathon preparation. In order to ensure that I didn't peek for this race and risk feeling flat in New York, I ran 145 miles the week before the race. This is a great indicator that training is heading in the right direction. The course was hilly, but the weather conditions allowed it to be a fast day across the board. We had a solid group working together through about 9 miles, which got me off to a fast start and forced me to dig those last few miles on my own. The first 5km was a little faster than I would liked, but I had to decide to go with the group or run alone for most of the race. While this made the last 5km of the race a bit rough, I believe I will be put in a similar situation in New York, making this an excellent tune-up race.

While I was pleased with my race, it was the atmosphere in Newcastle that made the experience for me. First, there were 55,000 runners lined up behind us for the same race. You could feel the energy at the starting line. Following a few words from Mo Farah, the speakers starting blasting "Highway to the Danger Zone" as a group of jets blew over our heads at low altitude with red, white, and blue smoke spewing from their engines just before the gun went off. The jets continued performing flybys for the entire morning to make sure everyone got to experience them. There were supporters for the entire duration of the point-to point race, which began in the city center and ended at the coast. The race organizers were fantastic to work with, and even with all the bells and whistles, made it obvious that their priority was to allow everyone to have their best possible race. I definitely hope to return to this race in the future.

With about 4 and half weeks until the ING New York Marathon, I'm in the last couple weeks of tough training before I really start to taper down. With training progressing well it's important for me to keep things on ice and make sure I don't burn myself out before November 4th. That's a nice position to be in.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Runner's World Article

Great North Run

I'm heading to Newcastle, UK for the Great North Run on Sunday, September 16th for a mid-season half-marathon test leading up to the ING New York Marathon.  The field looks deep, so I'm looking forward to getting competitive and mixing it up with some great runners.  I've been training in the Czech Republic for the last couple of months, and I'm very strong.  My coach, Dave Smith, has allowed me to push the volume a little more in my second marathon build-up, and my body is handling it well. Just a little over 7 weeks until New York!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Olympic Trials 10,000m

It was my 7th time being 6th at a U.S. Championship, and I have mixed feelings about the performance.  I let myself get into a bad position early, and that strategic error defined the rest of the race.  I got out strong in the first 400 meters, but was then slowly pushed back farther and farther into the field.  The rain was coming down so hard that I thought we would stay bunched up for quite some time, and I didn't think it was urgent to move up on the outside.  It strung out much earlier than I anticipated and I found myself having to close a gap within the first mile.  Each time I made up a gap, there was another in front of me.  I feel like I ran well and made up ground as best I could throughout the entire race, but I am disappointed that I put myself in a position to make that necessary.  There was a lot of energy wasted.  I'm not sure how much faster I could have run, but a solid PR was not out of the question.  In the end, I ran very close to a PR in difficult conditions, and placed well in a very deep 10km field at the U.S. Olympic Trials.  I'm proud of the way I raced and hung in there and continued making up ground after making a rookie mistake early on.

 Thanks to everyone who was out there cheering.  I don't get many chances to race in my home state, so I always appreciate the local support and the opportunity for my family to watch.  Thanks to Brooks as well for making it such a memorable experience.  They have the whole company out supporting their athletes with signs, blue Brooks hulk hands, and die hard running fans.  For those of you in Eugene, make sure to come out for the morning runs at 9:00 AM at the Brooks house right across from the stadium on 18th. There have been great turnouts so far, and we're looking for the biggest yet this weekend!  Hayward Field is a special place, and I look forward to returning.  Now it's time to focus on a summer of road racing in Europe in preparation for the ING New York Marathon in November!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Questions from Brooks Running

  • How has your training felt heading into the trials?
Training has progressed as well as I had hoped.  It's difficult to balance the unique energy that comes from the trials with the temptation to over-train.  As the race gets closer and closer, and training volume starts to taper, it is an effort to keep things under control.  I'm fit, I'm healthy, and I'm excited to compete. 
  • Other than making the Olympic Team, do you have a personal goal for the trials (for example, run a PR)?
I think the trials will offer an opportunity for many of us to set personal bests in the 10,000, so I'm going into the race with that mindset.  The race is early in the day for a 10k, so hopefully it will be a cool day in Eugene.  The field is so deep and so competitive that I don't foresee it being a sit and kick race.  I will be disappointed if I do not run a PR. 
  • Do you have a pre-race ritual?
I wouldn't call it a ritual, but the day of a race usually ends up turning out the same for me no matter what it is.  It's mostly waiting in anticipation.  The longer distances don't go off until the evening, so it's a pretty nerve-wracking day.  I usually end up sitting around my hotel room reading or watching something on tv to pass the time and keep my mind occupied.  Once the afternoon rolls around I'll go for a short shakeout run, eat my pre-race meal, and head over to the track to start my warm-up routine. 
  • What is your favorite Run happy memory
Training in the Czech village of Rodinov, my wife's hometown, truly embodies the Run Happy mentality.  The village has 200 people, a pub, and a small grocery store.  There endless miles of rolling country roads and forested trails that connect other small villages in the region.  My interval training is done on an old 4-lane track at an elementary school and is usually followed by a heavy meal of traditional goulash and dumplings.  It's just pure and simple.  
  • What Brooks shoes do you train in? Race in? What is your favorite Brooks short?
For lighter training runs I'm usually wearing the Brooks Adrenaline or Ravenna, and for the faster training/racing days I'll have on either the T7 or the Wire 2 spike.  For shorts I prefer the HVAC Synergy series.  
  • What is your favorite "Pump Up" songs to listen to pre-run/race?
I am constantly changing the music on my Ipod, but pre-race songs are usually some kind of classic rock.  Often times this will include, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Guns'n'Roses, etc. 
  • Is there a past Olympian who inspires you?
There are many past Olympians who inspire me, but a more recent example is Brian Sell.  It was simple, fundamental training and pure hard work that got him to Beijing.  No gimmicks, just steady progression and consistent training. I feel like I can relate. 
  • What is your favorite post-race food/snack?
It takes me quite a while before I'm ready to eat a full meal after a race, so I'll usually supplement with a Powerbar energy bar or Restore recovery drink. 
  • Do you have a favorite run/race in your hometown?
The Shamrock Run in Portland.  It's the largest race in Portland with over 40,000 runners from 5km up to 15km, and people really get decked out for it.  Everyone is dressed up and excited even though it's usually raining and cold the morning of the race. 
  • What tips do you have for runners just starting out/new runners as they approach their first race? 
Keep training fresh.  It's very difficult to have a positive race experience if you're mentally worn out before the race even starts.  Follow a training plan that has a wide variety of different workouts, and alternate training locations as often as time will allow.  Regardless of where you live, you will probably be surprised at how many parks and trails are a relatively short drive away.  Consider even a running vacation.  Travel somewhere new with an emphasis on training options and new scenery. 
  • How do you celebrate a great race?
After a big race I like to take a day or two off and do something I'm not normally able to do because of training.  Often times this ends up being hiking and/or camping.
Portland Track Festival 1500m - 6/9/12

I feel like the Portland Track Festival was a pretty solid tune-up going into the trials.  My volume has been around 120 miles per week since the Payton Jordan 10km, dropping down to 105 this last week.  I'm excited that I was able to set a personal best in the 1500m off of this volume.  There are only 10 days to go, and I'm feeling fresh and fit.