Weeks 5 & 6 Marathon Training

Sally protecting her Christmas rawhide.

Sally protecting her Christmas rawhide.

The last 2 weeks of training have been challenging. Each week has had their own unique occurrences, both positive and negative, that have had lead to doubt and concern. Ironically though I’ve seemed to gotten under control the Plantar Fasciitis issues…

Week 5 I finished the week without finishing my long run of training (14 miles). We had some thunderstorms roll in and I was in the middle of my run when I ran into my friend Shawn. He had just finished off a 20 mile training run and I ran with him on his cool-down. As we chatted for a little bit a few strikes of lightning hit and I realized I was going to have to finish my run later (that never happened though). That same day I ended up having some chest congestion and generally feeling tired and worn down. I decided by days end on that Sunday I probably needed a couple of days off from running. For the next 2 days I felt sluggish and generally tired. The week leading up to my long run I was feeling ok and my training runs were about where I had been heart rate and pace wise. But, by that Sunday, my body was telling me I needed some rest. It was a good decision.

Week 6 saw Christmas ย and a shorter run week because of taking off a few days for some rest. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and that was what I was doing. I took off Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (Christmas day). I went out Thursday for a 4 miler. I also decided to not run with my heart rate monitor and just run at a comfortable but closer to my target marathon race pace (7:45-50). Friday, being out of time off for taking off of work, I decided to bring my bike with me to work and ride over to the trails by the river at lunch. I ended up biking for about an hour and 20 minutes. It was a fun ride but I noticed later in the evening my knees were a little sore.

SopeTrails02ย  sopecreek-pondย  SopeTrails01

Saturday I decided to to run from Sope Creek parking area and run down along the trails to Cochran Shoals parking area. It was the first time I’d tried running hills since ย starting my training using my heart rate monitor and the 180 method. I had a solid run. I also ended up not using my monitor because I couldn’t get it working properly. I ran comfortably and ended up putting in a pretty solid time. I could definitely tell that my fitness level has improved a lot since I was last running these trails in prior months leading up to my 1/2 marathon training. One thing to note on this run was my left knee and some pain I felt on the outside of it.

Sunday I had to cover a 10 mile run for my week 6 long run (essentially a step-down training week). I decided to keep things interesting and ran a small trail loop up into the scope creek trails from the river fitness loop befpre heading towards Columns Drive out to where it intersects with Johnsons Ferry Road and then returned to where I started at Concern Shoals to finish off my run. I felt good and strong. I got my HR monitor working again so I ran within my maximum aerobic HR to continue my 180 method training. I knew on the trails the hills would get my heart rate up quickly so I was ok with my HR getting into the 140’s.

Me finishing up my 7 mile run at Sope Creek.

Me finishing up my 7 mile run at Sope Creek.

One cool thing I want to mention is a tip I’ve picked up on listening to a few running podcast. The advantage and technique didn’t really hit me until this day (for whatever reason). When running hills I’ve heard multiple times that you should attack the hill with quicker and smaller steps. It hit me that the same technique applies when mountain biking on trails and hills. You use your lower gears (faster cadence/pedaling) going up the hills instead of “longer” slower pedaling or strides. I thought about this and so applied it to running the hills, pretending that I was on my bike pedaling the hills with my steps. Amazingly I found my times on the hills and trails was noticeably much quicker than in the past and I also found that I had much better control of my HR on the hills. Good to know that listening to podcast and the amount of reading online about running actually can pay off ๐Ÿ™‚

After finishing my trail loop in the hills I popped back on the main fitness loop and stopped at the Columns Drive parking area for some water. After a quick 45-60 second break or so I progressed onto the road of Columns Drive. About a half mile on Columns Iย  started to feel a bit of discomfort and pain on my left knee. I ended up stopping to walk twice because the pain started to become very uncomfortable. I debated each time on whether I should end my run or not. I was feeling very concerned by the feeling at my knee. The second time I started running I decided to increase my pace a bit and also really focused on running more mid and forefoot. I noticed immediately this seemed help. My pace increased and I was also maintaining my HR too. I finished off my run with an 8:11, 8:02, 8:12, & 8:12 for my last 4 miles. I was happy about the progress in my pace, but not happy about what I was feeling on the outside of my knee ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

As I sit here typing this I’m still concerned about my knee. The knee didn’t bother me last night sleeping and it does feel a little better today but I do feel it from time to time. It seems that the bike riding is giving me some issues and I also realized I might of been riding with my seat too low (which was having my knees bent too much while pedaling). today is a rest day and I will be running easy miles tomorrow. Fingers crossed that the knee is just sore from the biking use and just needs rest.

Feet & legs - check out my new socks (Christmas present)

Feet & legs – check out my new socks (Christmas present)

Another challenge that hit me night before last is that I woke up with vertigo. I’ve been suffering with bouts of it now, off and on, for the last two years. It started in South Africa when I was living there. On several trips back and forth from there and the States I would seem to suffer from vertigo after about 3 weeks from my travels. When I returned back to the states I had hoped that it would go away but I’ve still been having bouts with it from time to time. Thankfully I’ve learned how to deal with it, but it is still annoying and I wish I could figure out what is causing it to happen.

So, as you can see, the last 2 weeks have had some challenges. I’ve listened to my body to give it some rest and I’ve mixed things up a bit in my training. I was feeling like I had plateaued on my aerobic training and I think between the rest and the few runs with hills and a faster pace has been very helpful. As my last 4 miles on my 10 mile run shows I dropped nearly 15 seconds from my long run peak from couple of weeks ago (Week 3 at an 8:27 pace). See the charts below for comparisons of each of my last 3 week’s long runs. I’ve pointed a few items out in the graphic worth noticing.

Oh, and Happy New year… I probably won’t post again till we are in 2014… Have an enjoyable and safe one… Cheers!

Week 4 through 6 comparison of long runs.

Week 4 through 6 comparison of long runs.

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Week 4 – Marathon Training

Wee 4 Long Run watchtimeAnother week in the books and another miserable cold and rainy one. There was an incident from last week that had an effect on this week of training. If you read my last post about Week 3 of my training you will see my write-up about buying some new shoes. I headed over to Big Peach Running in Marietta and ended up purchasing the Mizuno Wave Sayanara. I ran in the Mizuno’s during my 5K race Saturday and they felt great. Then on Sunday I ran a 8 mile run. Halfway through the run I all of a sudden felt a sharp stabbing pain on my outer left ankle, just below the main bone there. I finished my run but was a bit concerned.

Monday arrived and the ankle felt very sore. I was beside myself as I’ve been dealing with right ankle issues for a while now. After work I got home and started to put the Mizuno shoes on to walk Sally, my dog… I couldn’t even wear the shoes. I felt the pain immediately on the ankle ๐Ÿ˜ฆ OK, so it has to be the shoes!? I put on my old Brooks and no problems.

I took Monday and Tuesday off from running to give my ankle and body some rest. I wasn’t fully sure yet if it was the shoes or not with my left ankle. Wednesday I headed back to Big Peach and told them what had happened and I decided to put on the Saucony Kinvaras. These were the shoes I had decided against and went with the Mizunos. The guy who helped me said I wasn’t the first to complain about the Mizuno shoe and the pressure it puts on the ankle. You hear that Mizuno? I actually really liked the shoe but for the fact it actually caused a direct injury to my ankle ๐Ÿ˜ฆ You guys over at Mizuno might want to look at the rim of the shoe and how stiff it is… there really is no reason it needs to be that stiff.

The Kinvara was similar to the Mizuno but had a slightly thicker mid-sole and a little less of a drop (4mm). As soon as I put it on I felt nothing at my ankle where the Sayanara’s hurt. And the guys at Big Peach where really great about it and I decided to pic up a Big Peach running long sleeve shirt too ๐Ÿ™‚ They did an even trade on the shoes even though the Mizunos got slightly dirty on my 8 miler…

I’ve run in the Kinvara’s this week and I’ve like the shoe so far. It fits my foot well and my feet feel very natural in them. I don’t feel any restriction from the shoe and though the cushioning does seem fairly stiff to me, the ride I’m getting with them has been pleasant. Here are a few pics of the shoe I took so you can see if for yourself.

Kinvara-top Kinvara-front-topย ย  Kinvara-side Kinvara-bottom Kinvara-front

Another interesting development this week has been with my pace and Heart Rate. I started out with a 8:20 pace for 4 miles on Wednesday (I decided to add a mile to my run since I was missing out on a run this week) but my pace declined over each run leading to my long run today (Sunday). I’m really not sure what caused the pace decrease but I do know Dr. Phil Maffetone talks about how stress can effect your HR. I did have some stress at work this week so maybe that is it? I had seen steady increase in my pace the first 3 weeks so I was a bit surprised by the off week on the pace. We’ll see how next week goes.

Week 4 Training runs

My long run was 13 miles this week. I decided to run on the Silver Comet Trail. The trail is paved, long, and flat. The weather was brutal. Cold, high 30’s when I started, and windy. The “feels like” temps read 30. I ran with my Nathan belt. Even though my pace was a bit slower, per my HR 180 training method, I was consistent and felt I put in a good run. See my splits below and compare them to last week’s splits (Week 3 splits first).

Trail Run_2013-12-08_Chart Week 4 Long Run Splits

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Week 3 – Marathon Training

2013-12-08_HRMThis week was full of stuff – training, a 5K race, new shoes, and a possible new injury that is a concern. Oh, and the weather has sucked all week long… cold and rainy non-stop ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

My training went pretty well this last week. My schedule had me doing a 3 mile, 6 mile, 3 mile, a day off on Friday and then a 6 mile and 8 mile for my long run on Sunday. It was a step-down week on the long run. What was different about this week though was trying to give my body some relief. Knowing I was going to cut down on my long run I decided I also needed to change up a little.

I ran my 3 mile and 6 mile to start out the week but on Thursday I decided to ride my bike instead of running the 3 miles for that day. I took a long lunch that day and rode my bike from the house to Sope Creek and did a 3 mile loop there on the trails before heading back to the house. I tried at first to keep my HR within my aerobic zone but I found pretty quickly this was going to be near impossible, so I just rode and didn’t worry about it. I put in about 10 miles on the bike, 3 on trails with a little bit of climbing, and did all that in about an hour. I decided to do the bike ride instead of my run to give my right ankle and my Plantar Fasciitis a break while still getting in the needed cardio for training.

Mizuno-WaveSayonaraOn Friday I had an off day and decided to hit Big Peach Running to check on some shoes. I spent an hour with Steve at the Marietta location trying on a number of shoes. The experience was first class and I recommend anyone who runs to shop from a local running shoe store rather than from the “big box” stores. What was great was that I was talking to a guy who knew running, He was a runner himself, and the store focuses on just that… running. After talking about my goals and some of the issues I’ve been having of late we picked out about 3 pairs of shoes to try out. We started out with the newer version of my Brooks Cadence shoe, then progress to a Saucony and then a Altra and Adidas Shoe. After running in the parking lot in each, and even the treadmill and doing a cadence test, while I was video taped, I finally tried out the Mizuno Wave Sayonara. After trying them all out it came down to feel and I chose to purchase the Mizuno. The shoe just felt comfortable on my feet. I wouldn’t have bet on that as the shoe I would end up with before walking into Big Peach LOL

Saturday morning I headed out for a 5K. It was the Jingle Job 5K run at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. I invited by some friends to join them on the race, So I figured “why not?”. I hadn’t run a 5K race probably sense high school. Based on where my training was I figured breaking 20 minutes would be a nice time and so that was my goal. I started out pretty quick with a 6:15 first mile but tapered off to a 7:00 second mile (it was a slight incline most of that mile) and then finished with a 6:37 last .9 miles (yep, the course was short). So I ended up with a 19:08 short 5K. The course was about .2 miles short so I figured with my pace I was ahead of my 20 minute goal ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and I ran in my new Mizuno’s too… they felt great.

I was supposed to put in a 6 mile run on Saturday and since a 5K is 3 miles short of that I decided to go riding on the bike at Sope Creek. I started from the Papermill Parking area and rode down to the fitness loop, rode the whole fitness loop, and then road back to the parking area. I rode for about 8 and a half miles for about an hour 20. I think that made up for the 3 miles I was short.

Sunday I woke to a misty cold wet morning. I decided I was going to run down at the River and so headed that way. I brought with me a light rain hoodie to wear over my two layersย  of dry-fit short & long sleeve. Starting from the Columns drive parking area I ran the fitness loop, packed gravel/dirt road. I stopped for water back at the Columns drive parking are and then headed down columns. About a half mile in a suddenly felt a stabbing pain to the outside of my left ankle. It felt uncomfortable enough that I stopped running for a second and felt around the ankle. I stretched it for a second and decided on what to do. I started out again to see if maybe the pain would stay or go away. I slowed my pace slightly and soon the pain kind of went away. I finished my run and felt some discomfort a couple of times but it was never enough to prevent me from finishing my run. The first question in my mind was… “is it the shoes?”. I certainly hope not.

Now I’m dealing with 2 foot/ankle issues… one on each foot ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m taking a day off today and might test it out tomorrow but from what I’m reading online I’m probably going to be headed to the doc soon to have it looked at. Crossing my fingers this is not going to effect my running the Publix in March.

This week I saw more pace improvement on my 180 method training. Even with a little bit different week of training (having 2 bike rides to instead of runs) I shaved off about 8 seconds from last week on my pace while maintaining my HR below 138. See the following pics that compare my mile splits and pace (week 3 chart on right). Crossing fingers I my ankle/foot issues are minor and that I will be able to maintain my training schedule and continue the training pace progress…

2013-11-30_11milesplitsTrail Run_2013-12-08_Chart

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Week 2 – Marathon Training

2013-11-30_watchSo, a holiday week, as us Yanks celebrate Thanksgiving on the final Thursday of November every year. I know most outside of the US don’t celebrate this holiday as it is kind of a “New World” concept. Lots of eating and travel and turkey is consumed across the country. I got to see my youngest sister and brother-in-law and a couple of my aunts and spend time with my family. It is what the time of year is about. This though did not stop my marathon training ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a cold week overall and I was even forced to wear running tights on one of my runs. General I won’t break these out unless it gets below freezing (it was in the high 20’s on this run). For whatever reason my legs usually hold their own in the cold. I’m sure there is a perfect explanation for this, but I don’t have one. What I do know is that I don’t mind running in the cold. I much prefer it over running in the extreme opposite, which is the heat. Anyhow, I am still early in the training and I had during the week to only run two 3 mile runs and a 5 miler, with my long run of 11 and another 5 miler to finish off the week. It was on the 5 miler I wore the tights. I felt generally good all week and my plantar Faciitis seemed to be not a problem during the week. My ankle issues have seemed to subside a bit too. but I know that it is still there… if you know what I mean.

Because of the holiday I rotated my Friday off day to Thursday (Thanksgiving holiday) and ran my 3 miler on Friday. Because of a sponsored run on Sunday with Big Peach Running I decided to switch my long run to be on Saturday. I am always looking for new places to run I haven’t been before and so decided to head further up the Silver Comet trail, to sections I haven’t been on before (which is most of them beyond the first 8 miles or so).

Most of the run was level with some slight grades along the run. The run itself was mostly done in Paulding County. What I forgot about, and I had heard this before, was the trail becomes concrete once you leave Cobb County. Could we not pave the Comet on the worst surface to run on? I ate concrete! Despite that I had a solid run and I noticed a huge improvement from my previous long run the week before.

As you know from my WEEK 1 post I am training strictly aerobically using Phil Mathetone’s 180 method to establish my aerobic base. I found on my 10 miler in Week 1 that I ran roughly a 8:55 per mile pace. This week my time improved by 20 seconds while maintaining the same aerobic heart rate zone as the previous week. So far the results of this training method are making themselves available to me very quickly. I’m very curious to see how my long run will be next week in relation to my pace and heart rate. Though I do have a slight “step-down” week next week for my long run, I will still stay in the same aerobic zone and if I’m building my aerobic base properly with my runs this week I should still see a pace increase.

As I mentioned above Sunday was a group run and a sponsored run by Big Peach Running. The main reason for the group run was to give runners a chance to try out the line of shoes by Montrail. The trail that was established for the run was a 6 miler at Kennesaw Mountain.

Montrail_FluidFlexShoesI decided to try out the FluidFlex shoe. I’ve been wearing the Brooks Pure Cadence (even on trails mostly) and I was curious to see how different the Montrails would be. On my original online research of the Montrail line I wasn’t overly impressed but running in the FluidFlex my opinion was much different. What caught my attention in the end was that I really paid no attention to the shoe during my run. Granted I was talking on most of the run, but not at one point did I ever really notice the shoe in any way. After the run the rep for Montrail asked what I thought about them and I told her what I just mentioned. She said that was a good thing and how a shoe should be for you. Funny enough as soon as I put back on my Brooks I noticed immediately pressure from the shoe pushing on my arches. I guess I had gotten so used to wearing the Brooks I didn’t realize this pressure. Afterwards a few of us went for breakfast and my Brooks and that arch pressure was present the whole time. Interesting, huh? Though, not sure if from the mileage over the weekend or what but I am feeling some Plantar Faciitis pain off and on today ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So, yes, I’m going to be hitting up Big Peach in the very near future when I can get a chance to try out a few shoes… It’s time.

Below is the my 11 mile run splits… Compare this with the 10 Mile splits the week before. Different trail but very similar conditions. Paved and flat.

Week 2 – 11 Mile Splits

2013-11-30_11milesplitsWeek 1ย  – 10 Mile Splits

2013-11-25_10MileSplits

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Week 1 – Marathon Training

2013-11-25_HRMWeek 1 is done for training for my first marathon attempt. After a week off from my 1/2 marathon race I decided I couldn’t sit on the couch any longer ๐Ÿ™‚ The short time off was definitely a needed break though. What I wanted to start with this post is a record of my training for the marathon and give a history, as I progress, of the ups and downs of training from week to week. I plan on sharing my training times and distances with other information that reflects progress or setbacks. I’ll also share on how my body is reacting to the training as I’m starting to already have some concerns.

The 180 Method

I mentioned in my previous post about purchasing a heart rate monitor/watch. In that same post I also spoke of using a new method for my training that I referred to as the 180 method. The HRM is needed to train using this 180 method so both go hand-in-hand. What the 180 Method is all about is training to establish an aerobic base. This method was developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone in the 70’s & 80’s.

The general idea behind this training is to establish a better aerobic cardiovascular base. What this basically involves is training slower as most people have not trained aerobically enough and more times than not, when training, they are in an anaerobic HR zone. What fascinates me most about this method of training is that when you progress in the training your speed increases but your heart rate remains the same – in the aerobic zone.

To establish this zone the 180 Method sets up a formula to establish your maximum aerobic heart rate. To do this you subtract your age from 180. Following this Maffetone has a series of questions that can add or subtract from this “180-age” number (Click on the link I gave above for a more detailed description of how it all works). For me I take 180-42=138. After reading the questions I was a bit torn so decided to take the lower option and leave my maximum aerobic heart rate at 138 (he suggests to go lower if you are in doubt). What this means is that all of my training runs I will establish a heart rate zone from 128-138. Once I get warm and get my heart rate up above 128 I will keep it within this zone, not to exceed 138. If I exceed 138 I slow down. If this means I have to walk… I walk (this typically has only happened on hills a couple of times, so far).

After my first week I’m running about a 9:00 minute/mile pace keeping my aerobic heart rate below the max of 138. I know what you are now thinking… “geez, that is slow”. Yeah, I know, but as Phil Maffetone states in a PODCAST HERE, that is just where I am right now. Before when I was training for the 1/2 marathon I just completed a couple of weeks ago I was probably averaging about a 7:45 to 8:00 pace in my training runs. What I was doing was training in a more anaerobic zone. I did see progress but I have also dealt with some injury issues with my ankle/foot and have started to develop some Plantar Faciitis problems as well. An interesting point that Dr. Maffetone makes is that runners who are running too fast in training (basically training anaerobically) start to change their gait and running form, and this is where injuries can occur.

A great example of how effective this training method can be is from Mark Allen. Mark is considered one of the greatest triathletes the sport has seen. He started to train with the 180 Method and started out with a 9:30 minute mile (this after already being an accomplished triathlete). After months of training at a slower pace, staying under the max aerobic heart rate, his pace eventually went to a 5:20 pace, while still maintaining the same aerobic heart rate he started with… Amazing! So you see, by creating an aerobic base you can establish a much faster pace, by training slower, to eventually be able to run faster while being conditioned much better. What is not to love about this? ๐Ÿ™‚

I have 18 weeks of training to build up mileage for the Georgia Marathon I’m planning on running in March. I decided that starting week one I would give the 180 Method a chance. After week one here is what my pace from on my first long run (10 miles). My HR average stayed in the proper zone and I felt I kept a pretty consistent run all the way through. The run was very flat and was on a paved path (concrete ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

2013-11-25_10MileSplitsThe following image is a screenshot of the data that my Garmin software shows when I upload each run. Very informative and plenty of data to mull over…

2013-11-25_10MileRunStats

Week 1 Health? Well, my cardio is in good shape. My fitness is feeling great after my week of rest after my 1/2. What is concerning me though is some Plantar Faciitis issues I started to develop a few weeks before my 1/2. Then I have the ankle issues I’ve been dealing with for most of the year. I eventually, during the summer, picked up a compression sleeve I’ve been wearing on my right foot for months. What is strange now though is the pain I was feeling, which was on the outside of the ankle, is now not happening there. The pain is happening on the inside and is just beside and/or behind the ankle bone that sticks out on the inside. I’m keeping a close eye on this and it is possible that I may have to take some more rest and/or start doing more cross training (biking/elliptical) to maintain my cardio fitness. If anyone reading this has dealt with similar issues, while continuing to train, let me know. I would be curious to hear your story.

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Heart and Soul…

GarminFR210-pic

After listening to a number of podcasts recently, and reading a ton of running blogs, articles, etc. I decided that training with a heart rate monitor is the way to go. This week started my marathon training for the Georgia Marathon in March of 2014. The schedule I am using is 18 weeks of training. But, enough about that… Let’s talk about this heart rate monitor and watch ๐Ÿ™‚

I did some research the last few days and decided on the Garmin Forerunner 210. I won’t go into the detailed reasons why I decided to get this particular model but I will say it had to do with THIS REVIEW, and the PRICE (on sale at REI).

Basically what I am excited about in purchasing this watch is the data it will give me during my training and after. The main feedback the watch will be delivering to me during my running is time, pace, and distance. Couple this with preset “zones” for my heart rate and I have a training partner that will hopefully provide me with some real benefits and improved training.

(Also with this new HRM I am going to be focusing on running slower… Yes, you heard correctly… slower… if you want to know more about that you have to listen to THIS PODCAST. I will probably be posting about this later on as my training under these guidelines progresses.)

The second part of the information I get is downloaded from the watch to the Garmin website. From here I can export the information to a couple of different formats. The one I’m stoked about is the KML format for Google Earth. GE is one of my favorite pieces of software and having an archive of every run also goes well with this blog and the information I will continue to share on trails I run throughout Georgia (and probably other places). Below is a sample of the information you get from the KML file in GE. This was from my first run with the watch, a nice easy 3 miler around the neighborhood.

GE_Snapshot_TrackingGPSWatch

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Success feels GREAT!

This last weekend I ran in the Savannah Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon. This was my first official 1/2 Marathon race. I had run the distance years ago, but that is another story…

2013-11-09 06.48.46ย  2013-11-09 06.49.55

The trip started with us arriving in Savannah and heading to the convention center to get our numbers and walk around all of the vendor stations throughout the center. After meeting some people and a bit of looking around we headed to the hotel. That evening we met a group of friends (I actually didn’t know most of them so I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of people) for dinner down on River Street. Dinner was great and a couple of Sweetwater 420’s hit the spot and helped me get to sleep much easier. I’m always battling nerves the night before participating in sporting events.

We got up relatively early and because of where we stayed, just a 1/4 miles from the start, we jogged to the startline just minutes before the race start. My friend Shawn was in corral #1, I was in corral #2, So we got to start pretty much towards the front of the race. It was amazing to see so many people getting ramped up for big races.

Just for comparisons here is a snapshot of my mileage break-down I had put together for the race. My goal was 1 hour & 40 minutes. When I had signed up in August for the race I had posted my goal time as an hour 45.

1_2 Marathon-PaceChart140My training had been going well and leading up to the race I felt that maintaining an 8 minute mile was really too slow. Ultimately though what was important to having a successful race, I felt, was to not push my pace too fast too soon. Going out slow is “my race” and I was really nervous about keeping that discipline early. Thankfully the day before I met someone who was in my same corral, who knew my friend Shawn, who was looking to just run the race at an easy pace. This new friend, Ying, became my pacer for the first 3 miles ๐Ÿ™‚ (Thanks Ying… you helped make my race successful). Here is Ying and myself cruising early on in the race… I’m clearly talking as we enjoy the easy pace we set early on…

744531-1014-0032s

We started out about 45 seconds from corral #1 (The official start time). Being in the front of the whole race meant that it wasn’t too crowded. We started out heading straight down Bay Street and found ourselves running an easy pace. Ying had a better sense of the pace and soon we basically started to chat and watch people fly by us. Of course much of our conversation was how too many of these people running by us were going out to fast (And I recall catching many of them later on in the race).

At mile 3 Ying said good luck and I started to pick up my pace. I slowly began to key-off of runners as we meandered through the downtown streets of Savannah. About mile 6 we found ourselves in the heart of downtown and there was quite a crowd of spectators. This of course gave me a real boost and I found keeping and forcing my pace here to be very helpful. I also found by mile 7 that I was already ahead of my projected split times.

Savannah_RunningProfilePic_02_web ย Savannah_RunningProfilePic_01-web ย Savannah_RunningProfilePic_04_web

(A few pics of me running at various parts of the course – I’m in green if you didn’t figure it out ๐Ÿ™‚ย  )

Before the race I had put on my watch some white medical tape and written down 3 mile splits. I figured this was better than trying to track my race each mile. As I ran during the race I was glad I broke it out this way and not at every mile. It kept me from being too obsessive about each mile and I just focused on my stride and cardio levels and picking off runners as we progressed through the streets. I think it made for a much more enjoyable experience.

At about this same time I found myself shifting positions, back and forth, with a young female (see chick in blue top in above pics). I think I had caught up to her about mile 6 or so. I recall us running together mostly through the part I just spoke about. We stayed together until just after mile 10… Then I looked down to notice my shoe had come untied… UGH! Do I keep running? Stop and Tie it?ย  I stopped, stooped down really quick and made the tie (double knot) and started off again. I looked up and the female runner I was with was a good 40 or 50 yards up. I figured I had just lost a good 10 seconds ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

At this point leading up to the 11 mile split (the marathoners split off at this point) I started to wonder if I had missed the split. I did a quick look-around to see who I was running with. The 1/2’ers had a green bib and the full’ers had a yellow one. I found I was still on the right course and kept on going, and finding just a quarter mile up that the split was just ahead. The last 2 miles was a straight shot before the final turn and a .15 of a mile sprint to the finish. Somewhere between 12 and 13 my legs really started to fade. My cardio was still very solid, but I found my legs didn’t have much left.ย  At one point I tried to force my pace but my legs felt as if someone was holding them down. I had never experienced this before and it honestly freaked me out a bit.

About a quarter mile from the last turn I saw it… The turn. I knew then I was almost there. Funny enough my legs lightened up ๐Ÿ™‚ I picked up the pace and as I made the turn I found an amazing scene. Both sides of the street were aligned with spectators and all kinds of fanfare was happening. I extended my legs out and found a nice finishing stride to the finish. As I looked up to see my time I was stoked… I ran a successful race!!! I beat my goal time. My watch said 1 hour 38 minutes and 15 seconds. Officially I was a second faster even.

Once crossing through the finish line I found myself being handed all kinds of things and about a thousand photographers were trying to take my picture LOL. I soon found my hands full with a medal, a Gatorade, bottle of water, a Power Bar, and a banana. I guess they were trying to tell me something… Refuel!!! Probably the strangest feeling I experienced about a minute after the race were chills throughout my body. The Mylar that they handed out came in handy to keep me wamer-ish and I soon found a sunny spot to sit and stretch and rest in the park.

Savannah_RunningProfilePic_03_webย  Savannah_Running-FinishLine01_web

(Me striding to the finish line. Notice in pic on right… I’m pumping my fist as I cross the line)

What an amazing race and an amazing experience. The Rock-n-Roll folks did a fantastic job in Savannah organizing and running this event. If you are every looking to run a half or a full marathon this is a great place to do one. The course is flat and the town has plenty to offer for a great weekend.

2013-11-09 09.26.50(My watch time…)

Rock-039n039-Roll-Savannah-Marathon-amp-Half-Marathon_Scott-Moore(The official “unofficial” splits, time, and pace)

2013-11-09 11.06.58

(The “Hardware”)

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