Wednesday, December 3, 2008

running as exploration? what a novel concept...

i decided to shift away from the usual routes and try a new one today, through this fancy- pants neighborhood [yarrow point] in kirkland chocked full of some of the most gorgeous [and _expensive_] homes i've seen in the seattle area [including quite a few very impressive modern masterpieces] complete with some breath-taking views of lake washington [and killer hills].

it's really nice to shake off some of the structure of marathon training post race, to really milk a bit more enjoyment out of what running as exploration can provide.

... patenaude

Monday, December 1, 2008

the seattle marathon: what did i expect?...

so it's come and gone- the marathon i dreaded and looked forward to equally from the second i pushed "send" on the registration site. at around mile 23 or so yesterday i realized that i'd sorta set myself up for a ho hum situation...
sure every marathon finish is a "win", but for somebody who expects a little more than just completing a task from the effort, i realized that this time around, i hadn't really set a goal that i'd be very proud of.

upon completing my first marathon there was obviously quite a feeling of accomplishment for finishing period- and especially in under 4 hours. the second time around, i was able to set another personal record and @ 3:17, it had whetted my appetite for boston qualification. on my third marathon i learned a valuable lesson about seeking out fast courses [which napa was] and in doing so, picked tucson for my 4th PR attempt, and captured boston in the process.

after moving up to the hilly & rainy northwest though, my training has suffered a bit, and although i've tried convincing myself [regardless of the title of this blog] that i'm happy just adding another notch to my belt by finishing/ finishing in under 3:30... i don't think that it is.

so with that being said, i think after a small break i'm going to evaluate whether or not i think i'll be able to give an honest crack at a sub 3:00 [or at least boston qualifying sub 3:10], in the spring of next year. if not, then i might just lay off until jen & i are able to run new york together [a race that i'm _very_much_ looking forward to].

hmmm... i suppose i should talk about the seattle marathon a bit too...

first off, i ran a 3:27:31, the second half being a whopping 10 min. slower that the first [not good], averaging a 7:55 minute/ mile- erg!
and it never ceases to amaze me how poorly i pace myself by going out too quickly [6:40 first mile],
although like i mentioned, it didn't help that my garmin GPS, which i've become so dependent on for pacing, completely let me down.

very foggy, which made for some nice running whether, BUT!! ruined quite a bit of the vistas i was looking forward too,
and rendered my garmin GPS completely useless- no pacing, so splits, no credit for the mileage, and couldn't even read the time!
also... it was _NOT_ a fast course. aside from just looking at how far off the winner was from the world record [almost 30 minutes!],
it was quite hilly [the steep inclines in the last 5-6 miles was like a combo slap in the face and kick in the balls],
and by far the most winding course that i've ever run. yes. you can see that from the course map, but sometimes it takes some seeing something in person for it to really sink in.

oh! and the organization at the beginning of the race- bonkers! the event was split into marathon run, marathon walk, half marathon run, and half marathon run,
with nobody [that i could tell] to let the runners know where to go while waiting for their races.
and the announcers were 2 people who i seriously doubt had ever run anything over a mile, and had no apparent knowledge of anything marathon related.
oh! and a kid calling out splits at mile 24 was over 20 minutes off of the time!

hmmm... so in the end, i'm always glad i ran the course, but i'd seriously have to consider running this to anyone that doesn't live nearby-
and definitely would not recommend it as a boston qualifier or PR.

ok. that's it. had to get it out. there probably won't be another update until i decide on my next marathon.

... patenaude

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

nike women's marathon results, etc...

well. it's over. after 3:26:53 of running i crossed the finish line in 48th place [15th male] in front of ~4900 other runners @ the [nike womon's marathon] in san francisco. yes, marathons should be more about running your own race [unless you're an elite], but given how far off my marathon PR time of 3:07:53, and my eventual target of sub 3:00:00, i'm relatively pleased with the results- especially given the sprinkling of a few brutal hills throughout the course.

next up is the seattle marathon. i'm a bit worried about the training because of how long it's taking me to recover from the beating my legs took flying down the hills. i managed to get back into my training after 2 days of rest, but am a little worried about my 21-miler this next weekend. i started brainstorming excuses to justify skipping it a few miles into my 15-mile run yesterday, the biggest one being that it feels like i'm developing shin splints, but... i just know i won't feel right about going into seattle with so much down time [6 weeks] between a 20+ mile run.

ideally, with the 5 weekends between marathons the long run mileage ramp i plan on following is 10>15>20 [or 21]>15>10> the marathon. i suppose i can always ease back a bit on the mileage over the next few days, in hopes that that will be enough, but we'll see...

erg. marathon training is quite a complex beast.

... patenaude

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a nice little push...

so! i finally got it under my belt- the grand 21-miler. i usually like to get at least 2 in while training for a marathon, but because i procrastinated a bit too long, i was only able to fit one into my schedule- barely! [i actually miscalculated my schedule and have only left 2 weeks of tapering- thankfully i'm not planning on a PR this time].

the run went better than expected, despite a garmin malfunction scare at the start. after it finally beeped on, i took off on the burke gilman trail from log boom park on the north end of lake washington. shooting for a sub 8-minute mile pace somewhere between 7:50- 8:00, i was doing fine at the 10.5 mile turnaround [right past husky stadium], and figured i'd be right on the mark.

@ mile 13 or so i spotted a runner doing a 7:20 or but resisted the urge to catch up, fearing that it'd throw me too far off pace. then! outta nowhere, an old dude [looked to be about 55, balding with gray hair] flew passed me @ ~7:00 pace- wtf!? i try to stay conservative on my long runs, but i just couldn't let him out of range- i figured he was doing a shorter run [no hydration], but still- he's old! so... i followed him for a few miles @ ~7:15 pace, before he turned off [hah!], and realized he'd basically towed me to within range of the first guy. with 6 miles left, i decided to pass him, hoping to hold on until the end, wondering if i'd be able to maintain the pace. after a mile or so, i'd gained ~10th of a mile on him, but after a couple more i looked back and was shocked to see him within 10 ft.. i'm boring even myself, so i'll just finish it with- yep- i maintained the pace, and even finished with a 6:50 last mile lengthening my lead [again- i love racing people that don't know we're racing;)] to 1/8th of a mile. i shouted some thanks as he passed, and then proceeded to vomit for a few minutes while the on-lookers in the park witnessed a show i'm sure they'd rather not have.

so the jist is... it sure is nice being pushed a little every once in a while, into accomplishing something [7:36 min. pace over 21 miles] you'd forgotten you had in ya:)

all just in time for the marathon in 2 short weeks!

... patenaude

Saturday, September 27, 2008

times, times, and MORE times!

because they're scattered all over the place at the moment, i've decided to start collecting all of my race times here [that i've run since getting into marathons], so here they are [only the full marathons are numbered]!

january, 2005, carlsbad half marathon: 1:37:13
01] march, 2005, LA marathon [#1]: 03:39:41
palos verdes half marathon: 1:34:05
02] june, 2005, san diego rock 'n' roll marathon: 3:17:12
february, 2006, pacific shoreline half marathon: 1:31:51
03] march, 2006, napa valley marathon: 3:13:13
04] march, 2006, LA marathon: 5:34:29*
*hung back a little w/ my lovely wife
05] may, 2006, vancouver marathon: 3:19:35
october, 2006, long beach half marathon: 1:30:21
06] december, 2006, tuscon holualoa : 3:07:53
march, 2007, pacific shoreline half marathon: 2:47:43*
*hung back a little w/ my lovely wife
07] march, 2007 LA marathon: 3:23:23
08] april, 2007, boston marathon: 3:22:47*
*taking it easy & enjoying it, as a reward for earning entry:)
09] april, 2007, big sur marathon: 5:32:57*
*hung back a little w/ my lovely wife
10] march, 2008, napa valley marathon [#2]: 3:16:18
11] october, 2008, nike woman's marathon: 3:26:53, excuse: nasty hills

november, 2008, seattle marathon: TBD

HOLY MACKEREL! i just did a search to dig up my palos verdes race results, and look what i found:
i had no idea that site existed- it's obviously not a complete list [they actually left out the 2 most important races;)], but that would have saved me a _TON_ of time, if i'd ran that search earlier- how convenient!

later on, i might possibly do a list of reviews on them later, complete with weather, elevation, and overall speed of the course info:)

... patenaude

free city tours...

it never cease to amaze me how much of a city and the quality with which you get to know it, while training for marathons. i noticed it first while training for my first marathon in LA while living in the bastard [yet fantastic] area between the miracle mile, hancock park, and west hollywood [right near the grove]. long runs [10-21 milers] would take me as far east as downtown & hollywood, south to culver city, north up to the sunset strip + the hills, and west through beverly hills and into santa monica. here's one of my 13-mile routes from back then...

runs from work in santa monica would take me up into mailbu, and south down to venice.

and during our last year in the area, when we lived in hermosa beach [a runner's paradise], routes would run down through redondo beach into palos verdes, and up through manhattan beach, dockweiler, and into maraina del rey. here's one of my favorites...

all while experiencing my surroundings so much more intimately than zipping through it on my way to work, or sitting in traffic stewing in frustration.

last week's long run was a bit unexpected. until the night before, i'd planned on drive up to the section of the burke gilman trail on the north end of lake washington, and take it southwest on par with most of my long runs consisting of 15+ miles, because of the relative flatness of the course. instead though, because we were short on time, and it really is a little silly to drive somewhere to run from [especially considering the distance], i decided to brave the hills of kirkland, juanita, and before veering left onto the burke gilman trail [jeez- i'd better hurry- i'm starting to bore even myself]. instead though, @ mile 7 [2.5 more to go before the turnaround] i took a right on the sammamish river trail [because i wanted to pass a couple runners just ahead of me (one of my favorite things about running, is racing against people that don't know i'm trying to beat them;))], heading east towards woodinville [see below].

after a bit of an industrial section, it got downright beautiful- i was surrounded my overhanging trees before the trail headed under a tunnel and over a bridge high about the river, and back into more trees.

heh. so... i suppose my point is that i never would have seen that section of the city, let alone the world, if it hadn't been for my sunday long runs [and fantastic garmin GPS]. all else aside, the exploration factor itself is worth all the work that goes into marathon training- and, yes- even the hills.

in ~a month or so, jen and i will be moving to the west side of the lake- seattle proper [to be specific, i think they're calling it the "madison heights" neighborhood these days], and i just can't wait to see all the new scenery that yet another launch pad will provide.

... patenaude

Friday, August 1, 2008

dysentery vs. marathon training & MORE!...

... does not make a good running partner:

jen and i picked up a "crappy" case of it down on our trip to zihutenejo, mexico, which ruined the last day of an otherwise perfect 4-day trip. it also cut a few days off my training schedule, but luckily i was up and running by the end of the week. it's a tricky thing trying to mainintain a running shedule through illness, but with only 2 months to train, i really can't afford to thorugh away entire weeks.

so! i've managed to increase my mileage from ~25- 34 in the span of a couple weeks- not recommended at all- i usually try to stick to the 10% per week rule, but with so little time before the race + the set back, i can't afford not to build the base. needless to say, my legs have been feeling quite fatigued, but life could be worse;)

i've also managed a couple of 10-mile "long" runs, in the past couple weeks, which will be drastically increasing over the next 6 weeks. here's the route i've been running, which fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you looks at it, involves quite a bit of hill work.

although considerably slower than my "prime", i managed to chop my time down from 1:21:15 to 1:18:04 [remember- it's chocked full of hills;)], which means my pace went from an uninspiring 8:08 to just 7:48- still far off the sub 7 min. mil pace from a couple years ago, but I'm really looking forward to getting back down there again and faster!

next up to contend with are a few more action-packed weekends, that will require quite a bit of reshuffling of the schedule, but nothing i can't handle.

... off for a run!

... patenaude

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

back into the swing...

so! since moving up to seattle, things are going great- my job, the excitement of looking for a new home to buy, my wife and her new job + being near her family, and the weather is finally starting to come around.

but if there's one thing that's suffered, it's been my fitness/ running. without the structure of a marathon training schedule the last few months, it's been far too easy to fit in a few more endulgent nights than normally associated with training to run 26.2 miles- QUICKLY.

so... here we are @ july 23rd, one day before jen and i leave on our vacation in Zihuatanejo, mexico, and SHIT!! ~2.5 months before the marathon, with a measely base weekly mileage of ~25 miles. hmmm... i suppose it could be worse, but i really need to get serious- ESPECIALLY when it comes to getting my speed back up there- for you see, despite the fact that my miles have significantly slowed since my 3:07:53 @ the tuscon marathon in 2006, I!! am on a quest to break a 3-hour marathon [by the end of 2009], all while keeping all elements of my life balanced.

this week's schedule [trying to pack a bit in, because i don't know how realistic it is to expect many miles in mexico, despite packing the asics]:

sunday: 3 mile walk/ run with jen & the hounds
monday: 5 miles on the treadmill @ 39:59 [yuck! i'm fighting 8-minute miles insteaed of 6 or 7's!!]
tuesday: 7 miles outside solo, north kirkland/ juanita route [below]

wednesday: 7 miles with the hounds, south kirkland [below]

stay tuned, and WISH ME LUCK!!

... patenaude