2400 miles later

This has been the best disappointing year ever!  200 miles per month averaged, despite barely creeping near 200 miles a couple of times the last few months.

A Running History

In 2006, I started running.  By virtue of every race being my first at that distance, I set 4 personal records [5km, 15km, half-marathon, 4km].  I ran my first race, a 5k race, in 33:44.  That's a pace of 10:52 per mile, which is a slower pace than my worst marathon finish out of 8 marathons.

In 2007, I set 9 PRs.  10 if you count the 9.2 mile leg that I ran for a fundraising relay race.  Among those were:

  • 2 - 4 miler PRs
  • 2 - 5k PRs
  • 1 - 10k PR
  • 1 - 10 miler PR
  • 2 - half marathon PRs
  • 1 - marathon PR

In 2008, I started the year on fire and feeling invincible.  I ran a PR in every race [6 total] through my second marathon in May.  I beat my first marathon time by almost 55 minutes.  I followed up that marathon performance with my worst marathon performance ever, 8 minutes slower than my first marathon time.  Angry about my performance, I destructively ran hard, started getting injured, and proceeded to insure a prolonged injury by trying to bounce back too hard after a few days off.  I recovered from my injury and hobbled through a marathon, and went on to run a 5k PR a couple of weeks later.

In 2009, I quickly injured myself out of being able to run any races until late spring [a 5k].  From there, I slowly built up mileage, peaking out at 70 and 80 miles per week toward a November and December marathon.  I PRed in November and had a fairly strong marathon in December.

2010

This year, I had the usual trifecta of PRs in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running -- 5k, 10k, 10 miler.  Unfortunately, my 10 miler performance had me horribly disappointed.  I had mediocre and uninspired training for the next few weeks leading up to my spring marathon, with a stomach bug circulating in the house the week prior to the marathon.  I never got noticeably sick, but I didn't have the guts [literally] to finish the marathon.

Since my spring marathon attempt was little more than a 16 mile long run, I went straight back into marathon training, setting my sights on Chicago-10/10/10.  I ran a 5k race after a high mileage week [80 miles?] in early August, and broke down during the subsequent 60 mile weeks.  I took 3 weeks off with lots of stationary cycling, and managed to get back into the swing of training 5 weeks before the marathon.  Chicago was a disaster.

Again, I tentatively trained through the marathon.  This time the Flying Monkey marathon was up.  Not exactly the "redemption opportunity" that one would hope for after crashing and burning on a flat marathon course.  Nonetheless, I ran 22 minutes faster than my previous Flying Monkey marathon and 17 minutes faster than my Chicago time.  While 4:08 is not exactly a good marathon outing for me, I was still very happy with some level of redemption for the year.

With Monkey over, I was a measly 140 miles or so from 2400 miles for the year with 5 weeks to go.  35 miles per week was going to be easy, even with travel, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Then a nasty little sinus infection struck the day after Thanksgiving.  I've felt bad before and managed to go out and trudge through 15-20 miles.  I did a 22 miler with a sinus infection two weeks before my first marathon.  It felt bad, but not much worse than sitting around feeling miserable.

This time, I've had two weekends where I just didn't care to start running a long run, much less go the full distance.  I've had a fairly persistent cough for 5 weeks.  The doctor last weekend had me x-rayed for pneumonia [two opinions later, both came back negative].  The cough is mostly on its last legs now, but I've had to take things far easier than I can stand.  Nonetheless, 2400 miles are in the books.  150 miles more than last year.

Exit the Monkey, 2 years later - a race report

It's been two years since I last ran the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon.

Last Time on Monkey...

In my last experience, the Flying Monkey was my first marathon coming back from injury time-off in August and September.  Earlier that year, I had experienced beating my first marathon time by over minutes [4:34 down to 3:39] at Flying Pig, only to be sorely disappointed with a 4:42 at Hatfield-McCoy 6 weeks later.  Both of these are hilly marathons, Hatfield slightly more so than Flying Pig.  Having been humbled by Hatfield-McCoy, I was pleased with a 4:30-ish time coming off of injury.

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon DNF

I was coming off of an extremely disappointing disintegration this spring at the Derby Festival Marathon.  Lackluster training was compounded by a stomach bug in the household the week of the marathon.  I had a chip on my shoulder and buckled down to come back stronger than ever.

Progress Derailed by Injury

Seven weeks out from the Chicago Marathon, I broke down after an 80+ mile week and 2 60+ mile weeks.  What started out as a run toward a PR became a race to be able to finish as I tried to stay fit on the bike and walking while I did 3 weeks of physical therapy to heal.

Chicago Meltdown

Chicago was hideous.  It was hot.  I was ill-prepared.  I didn't sign up for a seeded entry.  I barely broke 4:25--the median time for my 7 completed marathons.

Pfitzinger

I started reading Advanced Marathoning - 2nd Edition (affiliate link) by Pete Pfitzinger during my recovery time.  I was looking for answers and inspiration.  I came to a realization in the early pages that I had been neglecting tempo runs, so I paid attention to keeping them in my workout routine.

Monkey Report

My former co-worker and fellow runner signed up for the Monkey in August, despite having neglected any form of running for the last 8 months.  At his peak--even last Monkey in Chuck Taylors--he is a sub-3:10 marathoner and a 19-minute 5ker.  At my peak, I've come near 3:30.  Neither of us were at our peak for this race, but I at least had a long run at Chicago [and another 20-miler in between].

He took off ahead of me on the first hill, and I fully expected that he'd pace about a minute per mile faster than me until he blew up, at which point he'd still gut out a sub-10 pace.

Instead, I caught him by at least midway down the first downhill, and we paced each other at a 9-minute pace until I had to hit a portapotty.  After that pit stop, I caught him and passed him on the next downhill.  He later caught up with me and we paced each other from that point on until mile 14.

At mile 14, I ran with the hard downhill.  I was brutalizing my legs with these downhills, but I had to take the opportunities where I could get them.  I lost track of my racing partner at that point.

By mile 20, I started breaking into walks on the steep uphills.  I'd check behind me every so often to see if I was going to be passed again.  By mile 22, I started walking on the slight uphills.  Those hills absolutely wear out the hamstrings.  Even on the switchbacks, I didn't see my competition higher up on the hill.

I somehow managed to hold on for both a 4:08:33 and the lead over my racing partner... The months of extreme tapering were too much for his usual tenacity to overcome. While the friendly competition was fun, I was most delighted in the fact that I beat my Chicago Marathon time--by 16 1/2 minutes.

Monkey FTW -- especially in the medal and bib department: