Wednesday, December 15

Wednesday Wrapup

Monday Pushups

This week I jumped from W6-C2-D1 to W6-C3-D1. Seemed easier on paper than for real. I did get the sets done, but like the past few weeks, the Monday sets are not timed. I take as much time as I need to recover enough to make the next set. Today was no different. Took most of 45 minutes from start to end - almost 20 minutes was recovery for the last Max set.

I am starting to realize that the trouble I am having is because the longer sets end up being anaerobic and I just don't have the tolerance to that kind of work. Wednesday I will need to tighten up the rest periods for the main set.

45/55/35/30/55=220 Ouch!

Tuesday Bike Brick

With the holidays fast approaching I find myself thouroughly enjoying my time in the pain cave. Last night I was having so much fun I went a little long on the drainer and deadmill.

As per Coach P’s guidance, I went back to my current FTP numbers for the FT set but ended up over cooking the 85% stuff a bit. Initially I planned the 85% to be right at 85% for 20 minutes. I was watching “Fellowship of the Ring” and got distracted. It felt so good I just kept with it till I felt like stopping – ended up with 30 minutes at 90%.....

My run was similar. Plan was for 30 at Z1…. After a minute or 2 of WU, I settled in at Z1 minus 30 seconds and held it for 5 miles. Was nice to just run. I miss it and need to do more. Intervals can be fun, sure, but nothing beats just running for the sake of running……

Interval 2:
Duration: 15:02 (15:03)
Work: 182 kJ
TSS: 25.6 (intensity factor 1.01)
Norm Power: 202
VI: 1

Interval 4:
Duration: 15:01
Work: 185 kJ
TSS: 26.4 (intensity factor 1.027)
Norm Power: 205
VI: 1

Interval 6:
Duration: 30:02
Work: 323 kJ
TSS: 40.4 (intensity factor 0.899)
Norm Power: 180
VI: 1

Entire workout (172 watts):
Duration: 1:21:25 (1:21:45)
Work: 841 kJ
TSS: 113.9 (intensity factor 0.919)
Norm Power: 184
VI: 1.07

Run 41:31; 5.0 miles @ 8:20 ..... can't wait to be free to run longer.....

Wednesday Bike

Had to switch Wednesday's run with Thursday's bike so my friend can come over and do an EN style FTP test tomorrow.  So, second day in a row for bike intervals is HARD shit.  Struggled from the beginning - go tit done but really had to work at it.

Zone 4 Intervals:
   Duration:   10:02          10:02         10:02
   Work:       123 kJ         124 kJ        124 kJ
   TSS:        17.7 (1.028)   17.7 (1.027)  17.9 (1.035)
   Norm Power: 206            205           207
   VI:         1              1             1

Zone 3 Interval:
   Duration:   15:02 (15:03)
   Work:       158 kJ
   TSS:        19.5 (0.882)
   Norm Power: 176
   VI:         1

Entire workout (164 watts):
   Duration:   1:15:27
   Work:       743 kJ
   TSS:        100.3 (0.899)
   Norm Power: 180
   VI:         1.09

Tomorrow I get to run while Jay suffers for his first ever 2x20... gonna be fun (for me).

Pushups!  wonderful pushups!

It's Wednesday and it is late - had to get the bike workout in first. Then stupidly I started without looking at my workout, dumb.  Instead of 45/55 for the first 2 sets I did 40/50.  that forced me to add 5 to the next 2 sets for 40/35 that way I get the full count for the day.  The final set was killer - 55

Second go at W6-C3-D1  40/50/40/35/55=220

Sunday, December 12

Sunday Week 6 wrap up

Saturday Brick

Got my work done this afternoon but had to put on a dinner for my wife's coworker and spouse - lots of SAU's there. Jay, our guest is also training for IMLP too so we had lots of kewl training stuff to talk about. Talked a lot about how great I think EN is. He seemed interested. Also offered to have him over for a FTP test - EN style on Thursday..... should be fun (for me!)

Definitely up to the challenge that Coach P put out there (wanted everyone to push watts as big as possible to see what you could get)....I never seem to be able to say no. On Thursday, the first part of the challenge,  I averaged 218 over the 3x10's. Today I got that and more.

The workout called for 2x12 FTP plus 2x15 @ Z3 - did the Z3 as 1x30 instead

12' @ 224; IF 1.119; VI 1.0; HR 164; Cd 88
12' @ 221; IF 1.104; VI 1.0; HR 167; Cd 85
30' @ 185; IF 0.923; VI 1.0; HR 155; Cd 87
total bike 1:16:37 @ 190; IF 0.949; VI 1.12; HR 150; Cd 80

Run targets 7:30 out, 7:20 back on the deadmill

7:45, 7:38, 7:20
Run total 23:08; 3.0 miles; HR 174; Cd 85

So, not only did I push bigger watts today for the Z4 intervals, but also pushed watts for the Z3 efforts AND hit my run targets off the bike! I am psyched! Look out Week 8 FTP test!

Suffering Sunday....

Like a lot of others at EN, I'm feeling Coach P's "could" workouts too. Almost wimped out and called it a week without the Sunday run. Then I was wondering how could I do that? Certainly wouldn't pass the straight-face test.....

Pouring rain most all afternoon so deadmill it is. Easy warm up and MS then a final 0.25 to finish 5.0

1.5 @ 7:19; HR 170; Cd 88
1.5 @ 7:19; HR 174; Cd 87
total 5.0 @ 8:18; HR 168; Cd 81

Looking forward to a day off. really need it.

Friday, December 10

Running in the snow....yeah, not happening

Tuesday: bike brick

Seems to be no shortage of stuff to do with all the holiday festivities to prep for. Last night was no exception - worked later than usual, shopping after work, then decorate (lights) and hang 48" wreath on the garage, mess with the wood stove.... spend time with DW.....

Finally got to the bike after 9PM. Didn't finish the deadmill session till 10:45 and dinner was at 11 with the evening news. I would have liked to start at 7:30 but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Good session. Pushed the watts and held strong, no fade. Limited my soft peddle to only the first minute of the recovery, then aim at Z2 for the other 3 minutes.

15' @ 213w; IF 1.063; VI 1.01; Cd 83; HR 151
15' @ 211w; IF 1.057; VI 1.0; Cd 83; HR 162
20' @ 175w; IF 0.876; VI 1.0; Cd 84; HR 148

Total bike 1:10:21 @ 187w; IF 0.937; VI 1.07; Cd 79; HR 145

The run was OK too. Not sure I get the strides thing... holding good form is something I think about for every run at every pace. The only time I let my form slip is when I am so fatigued that I can't run tall. Began near Z1 pace then upped the speed after 3 minutes to my comfort pace (30 secs faster). The last 10 were at Z2.

Run 25:10 @ 8:23; 3 miles; Cd 84; HR 157

Wednesday: run intervals
Hoping to find a track to run on tonight.... don't like intervals on the deadmill....... then there is reality... But first I had to get the Christmas tree in and standing among other things.

I really wanted to run outside but the roads were all frozen slush and snow on the shoulders and the UMO track had 10" of untracked snow - I guess they don't plow the track..... so, into the pain cave - nothing but fun and party lights down there.... Last Samurai on DVD for distraction.

2 mile warmup then the main set. Did half mile recovery between and at the end. Six miles total.

0.5 @ 7:19; HR 171; Cd 88
1.0 @ 7:19; HR 173; Cd 88
1.0 @ 7:19; HR 173; Cd 88

overall 6.0 @ 8:37; HR 157; Cd 81

The best part was how easy my 8:20 pace felt between sets.

Thursday: bike intervals with a challenge by Coach P to really push the watts 

Late comer to the party but I'm happy to say I had a great ride too. Thanks Coach P for the license to crush!

Tested into the OS at 183 FTP but realized after a few rides it was just plain off. So I did a SWAG and came up with 200 which is what I have been pushing watts above there since. Well, at Coach P's urging I set my sights for 215 and I was not disappointed.

10' @ 218; IF 1.089; VI 1.0; HR 156; Cd 84
10' @ 217; IF 1.084; VI 1.0; HR 166; Cd 84
10' @ 220; IF 1.098; VI 1.0; HR 168; Cd 84
20' @ 184; IF 0.922; VI 1.0; HR 155; Cd 86

Total 1:14:56 @ 192; IF 0.958; VI 1.08; HR 150; Cd 80

Pretty sweet session. Loved the consistency between intervals.

Friday: rest day.... except for the 190 push-ups

After 3 days of repeating W6-C2-D1... struggling the entire time, I was able to finish but just barely. Most sets were with 60" rest except the Max set - needed 2 minutes to recover enough to go 50.
40/50/25/25/50=190  Third time is magic!

Not sure If I am ready to move on yet. Thing is, to finish by Christmas I am going to need to really push. So from above:

C2-D1 >> 40/50/25/25/50
C3-D1 >> 45/55/35/30/55 << next up
C4-D1 >> 50/60/45/35/60

Last thing tonight was the lights.....

Monday, December 6

Day off... tired arms....

Got home today to find 10" of heavy snow piled everywhere.  It was just warm enough to make it sticky... perfect for making snowmen but I needed to shovel it from the walks and deck.  Fortunately, I got hold of our plow guy today.  He showed up just as I was clearing the front walk. 

Last year we were the proud recipients of a tractor mounted snow-blower.  Seemed great... at first....till we realized it shot rocks (we have a gravel driveway) at everything within 60'.  Hit the house, the car, everywhere..... took some learning how not to hit stuff.  Then in the spring, instead of having a pile of gravel at the end of the driveway from the plow guy, we had rocks and gravel covering the lawn - the entire lawn within 50' or so of the driveway..... man did that ever suck!

First snows always cause issues.... today it was warm soft ground under the snow.  The plow guy was ripping up piles of dirt, gravel, grass and mud everywhere he put his blade - and that was with the skid set down 2".  In the end, it was a good thing he came.  I don't think I would have finished without him doing the drive. 

Start the arms quivering...
After dinner it was to the 100 pushup challange.  On Sunday I re-tested and managed to step into Week 6, Column 2.  So I started in and got it done.... not pretty, very hard....needed 5 - 10 minutes between sets, especially the max set. Took 60 minutes to do the whole thing.

40/50/25/25/50=190 fewer pushups than last week but seemed much harder with longer sets.
Looking over W6-C2, seems like it is built with a taper - D2 & D3 have less total than D1. May need to do something funky like this:

C2-D1 >> 40/50/25/25/50
C3-D1 >> 45/55/35/30/55
C4-D1 >> 50/60/45/35/60

I guess we will just have to see how this goes.....

Sunday, December 5

Getting Buried in stuff.....

Been having trouble making everything fit. Between the work, workouts, posting my results to EN I just don’t seem to have enough time. Time to try something different. For the next few days I am going to take my EN workout posts and email them here to save on some online time and see how that goes. Actually this post is via email from this mornings 10 mile run results.

Snowing lightly and 30* this AM, nice day for a run..... In all the years I have been running in Orono, I never went to the HS track which is only 1.5 miles from my house. In the past if I wanted to do a track workout, I went over to the University, about 3 miles away. It was just a little too far to run to for intervals but it is a nice soft track and has lights most nights.

Well, today I decided to try the HS track. Not bad. It is a paved track but in good condition. Perfect distance to do a warmup run to and from. No need to drive.

Total run 1:22:23; 10.1 miles @ 8:10; rTSS 115.8 (0.88)

Target zone 4 pace: 7:20

2x0.5 @ Z4; 2x1.0 @ Z4
0.5 @ 6:53; HR 175; Cd 92 - didn't look at my garmin and over cooked it a bit
0.5 @ 7:17; HR 171; Cd 86 - much better
1.0 @ 7:11; HR 176; Cd 89
1.0 @ 7:16; HR 175; Cd 88

Warmup and extra volume miles were all at my normal self selected pace. Felt good to get some "normal" running in for a change. I think I need to do more of that to keep my sanity.......

After a smoothie and a shower, I went to Carpenters Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Farm over in Stillwater. My first time at their farm – nice place. Not too big and the trees are smaller than over at G&S in Orono. But, the quality of tree and the pruning are excellent.

Like normal, I spent the better part of 90 minutes just walking around enjoying being with the trees. To me, wandering around looking at and for a Christmas tree has to be the best part of the entire Christmas season. One day I will have my own tree farm. Then everyday can be “my” Christmas!

Run Strong my friends, run strong.

Sunday, November 28

Turkey Wrap...

The long holiday weekend draws to a close and I am feeling the fatigue of work.  Feels good too.

Like most people I ate too much for Thanksgiving but was surprised to find I didn’t gain any weight.   It was a nice dinner at Carole’s parents house in Canaan.  The only thing missing was Carole who had to work.  We all missed having her there. 

Part of my strategy was to do my 60 minute workout on the ‘drainer’ down in the pain cave BEFORE eating turkey.  The session called for 2x12 @ Z4 plus some Z3 time – I ended up doing 25’ in Z3.  This way I was running a calorie deficit heading into the meal.


Rest day… well, not really.  Today I need to do my Week 5, Column 3 Day 2 pushups – and finish without needing extra time between sets.  Earlier in the week I needed to add lots of time to get it done.  Not today.  Managed to hit all my sets with only 45 seconds between.  The last set, the Max set, I thought my arms were going to fall off.  If I needed to do 46 instead of 45 to finish, I don’t think I could have made it.  In all I did 185 pushups 19/19/22/22/18/18/22/45 = 185.  Next week is W5-C3-D3.

Turkey Challenge

Coach Patrick came up with this idea that we (EN peeps) should look at the ‘member map’ and group ourselves into teams of 2 or 4 and do a “marathon relay” over the holiday (still need to do the normal workouts too).  I got nobody anywhere near me in Maine, and since I miss my run volume….(I have been missing running since the OS started)...I saw this as my legitimate excuse to crank out some volume.   I was planning on doing the whole 26.2 myself over 3 days but then I saw a post by Coach P.  He was looking for a team – I offered to join. 

Saturday comes

Yesterday I did my weekend bike, but it was after a long run for the turkey challenge. In the AM I went for a run with Sierra (Carole’s daughter) @ 8:52 pace for 4.5 miles until Sierra went back home. Air temp when we started was 26* and it was snowing, adding to the crusty stuff on the sidewalks and road shoulders.  It snowed for the entire run - nice! I finished 9.28 total with a 8:18 pace overall (the second half was @ 7:50). So, legs were toast (in a good way) for most of the afternoon.

Run 9.28 miles, 1:17:00 @ 8:18
8:48, 8:34, 9:06, 9:12, 8:12, 7:54, 7:53, 8:07, 7:13, 2:01 (7:12)

The bike had to wait till the evening around 8 PM before my legs came back enough to ride effectively. Really didn't want to do it either. I thought if I could just get the MS done in the low to middle of my zones I would call it good. Once I got started I managed to overcook the Z4 efforts - that was a surprise after the 9 mile run.

2x12 @ 212/206; 1.06/1.028; 85/83
2x15 @ 169/171; 0.846/0.854; 83/84
Total time 1:17:02 @ 177; 0.883; 77

Needless to say I was feeling like jello by the end. In all it was a great day for work!

Sunday chores

Our woodstove seems to have developed an air leak since last winter.  Once it is going, it takes off and cooks us out of  the house.  So today I had to get a damper and install that.  Up till now it has been fine without a damper – shut the draft and it slows down.  That’s the way airtight stoves are supposed to work.  Guess we don’t have an airtight anymore.  Next up was the snow tires on Carole’s Jeep.  The bummer there was how tight the lug nuts were.  I needed a 3 foot pipe to crank the star wrench to pop those bad boys loose….  The final chore before I could run was the simplest – put some oil additives to the 3 oil tanks to prevent sludge from clogging up the filters.  Finally at 2:15 I could go out and run! Yipee!

Today, instead of the typical interval session, I went for another 9 miler to complete the 26.2 with Coach P and his miles (got an email from Coach saying he logged 8 miles for the challenge). It was a good run, not too much residual fatigue. Managed to fit 2 hot miles in – the first at mile 3 @ 7:36 and  the second was my last at mile 9 @ 7:16 so, it sort of was like a regular workout.

Sunday 9.0 miles, 1:11:36 @ 7:57
8:50, 7:56, 7:36, 8:11, 7:57, 7:45, 8:12, 7:54, 7:16

Turkey Challange
Saturday 9.28 miles, 1:17:00 @ 8:18
Sunday 9.0 miles, 1:11:36 @ 7:57
Coach Patrick 8 miles, 0:58:30 @ 7:19

Team Crooked Pine 3:27:06 @ 7:53  Not too shabby.

Now I am tired. Going to get to bed 2 hours early tonight, for a change.....

Wednesday, November 24

Feeling the buildup

Here I am midway into Week 4 of my 20 week OS and I can tell you the training load is starting to build.  Nothing too bad, but I can tell it is adding up.  My recent issue with the right hamstring is a good indication that I am approaching the edge of too much.  Still have room to work in, but I need to be certain that any over-cooking of training zones is measured.  I still feel that I can push the watts and add time on my runs.  It's just that I need to pay closer attention to how I feel. 

was an 'off' day and I did use it as a hard rest day.  It was a much needed recovery day.  My only activity was W5-C3-D2 of my 100 pushup challange.  Instead of 5 sets like in previous sessions, this one has 7 sets plus the max set.  I did manage to get them all but my rest intervals were many minutes (not 45 seconds as instructed).  I am doing each day three times, taking a week to hammer the pushups in.  So, Wednesday (today) I did D2 a second time.  This time I stuck to the 45 second rest interval for all but the last Max set.  In all I did 190 pushups today: 19-19-22-22-18-18-22-50.  Come Friday, I will need to maintain the 45 second rest interval for all sets - including the lead in to the Max set.

is the standard bike-run workout.  Mainset for the bike was 2x12 (4) @ Z4 plus 25' @ Z3.  Feeling kind of spunky, I pushed the watts in the MS and finish with 206, (1.03) Cd 84; 203, (1.013) Cd 83.  The extra volume was on target at 168, (0.838) Cd 85.  It's important to NOT overcook the zone 3 volume because the gain isn't from pushing bigger watts, it is in expanding the volume without incurring too much fatigue.  Total bike workout 1:13:35 @ 176w, (0.881), Cd 78.  The brick run was at an easy pace on the deadmill.  Good thing to - I need to heal the 'hammy'.

Today, Wednesday
 was 'run' day but because of the issue I have had on the deadmill, I was determined to run outside.  Of course, the weather didn't care about me or my plans.  It wasn't raining or anything nasty, but is was far from 'nice'.  The wind is out of the NW at 16, gusting to 25, making the 29* feel like 19*.  No matter, I need to go - I just don't think I could take another interval on the DM.

The mainset is a simple 2x1 mile at 7:20 (zone 4) with 4 minutes rest between.  The rest is WU and volume, aiming for 45 minutes.  Decked out in Sporthill pants, mock neck thermal shirt, arm warmers, wind shell jacket, hat and gloves I head out easy.  I start north towards Old Town, into the wind so it is behind me when I am tired and sweaty.  Just past the Stillwater river, above the short hill I start my first interval.  I go almost a half mile before I look at my Garmin to check my pace - right on target.  I check my pace 1 more time then again as I make the 1 mile mark at 7:23.  Perfect pacing.  Feels good to know were I need to be.  I jog easy to the Cornfield, my 3 mile turnaround then start back.  My second interval proceeds the same way - minimal looks at my pace and nail it in the end at 7:17.  The rest of the run back was at a comfortable pace, finishing 6 miles in 48:09 at an average 8:03 pace.  Nice!

Tomorrow will be 60 minute on the bike followed by an easy run with Sierra.  The big meal of the day will be at Ed & Louise' house.  She'll be serving turkey, stuffing, lasagna, cake, pie..... you know... too much of everything.  Should be good!

Sunday, November 21

Guests from away...


Been making some adjustments to the bike lately.  New seatpost by Profile Design, the Carbon FastForward.  A new seat, a San Marco that I got cheap from one of my new friends at Endurance Nation.  Flipped my stem over to lower the front and removed the last spacer too.  Total drop is now about 12cm.  It feels good while I am in the aero position but my lower back has developed a sore spot.  If it doesn't correct itself very soon or gets worse, I will need to undo some of the drop on the front end.  I'll just need to keep my eye on the fit for a while.

On to the bike portion of the workout.  Plan called for 2x10 @ Z4 plus 2x15 @ Z3 then finish the hour at Z3

2x10 @ 0.987, 0.997; Cd 82, 81
3x15 @ 0.862, 0.878, 0.915; Cd 85, 86, 88
Total bike - 1:28:13 @ 0.87, Cd 80

The run was to be 10 @ Z2 then 10 @ Z3.  This wko will be on the deadmill.

Run - 10:00 @ 7:49; 10:00 @ 7:30
Total 20:00 @ 7:40 for 2.61 mile, HR 172, Cd 85

No problems on the bike but the last 5 on the deadmill were tough.

My son Kyle and his fiance Maria arrived from Kentucky at dinner and we shared some homemade soup and caught up on how things were going and thier plans for the future......


... we planned an elegant brunch at the Lucerne Inn for today. That forced me to get up early and workout in the AM - something I hate to do, but it is for a good reason.

Warm up on the deadmill - 1 mile (should have been longer but...) then into the first of 2 half mile repeats at 7:19 felt OK. Big difference from doing them at the track. I noticed that at the track I push off every stride where as on the deadmill I feel like I am pulling when I land to keep up with the belt. Easy jog 400 then hit the speed button for the second repeat at 7:19. So far, all good.

Somewhere in the middle of the first mile repeat I felt my lower hamstring tense up. After a few more strides it was beginning to be almost painful and I was trying to alter my stride - thinking I should hit the kill switch and stop right there. I did continue (maybe foolishly) and finished the last quarter mile then walked a bit to recover. Instead of pushing and forcing the last mile repeat, I decided to run easy - at like 8:49 to see how that went. It continued to be tight but no sharp pains. I put in 1.5 miles that way and called it done.

2x0.5 @ 7:19
1x1 @ 7:19
1.5 @ 8:49 - not painful but definitly not fun either
Total run 48:57 @ 8:10; 6 miles

The brunch was awesome but my hammy still bothers me..... very hard rest tomorrow.

Friday, November 19

Fitting it all in….

Seems to me I have difficulty getting all my things done in a week. Between the workouts, work, spouse-time, metric analysis, eating, sleeping, and posting blog entries I just run out of time. This week is no exception so I’ll do a full recap but try to keep it brief and to the point.

Monday – rest day with pushups.

I was all psyched about starting W5-C3 but it kicked my ass.... First set was OK, second just barely finished, third set nearly quit at 26 - 4 short but managed to finish in slow motion. Set 4.... I couldn't even start! I collapsed on the way down for #1. Tried again and managed to lower myself safely but was completely incapable of doing the pushup! What the hell happened? Ten minutes later I tried again and could only get to 7 before fatigue stopped me again.

Tuesday – Bike run brick: 2x10 (3) @ 200, 30’ @ 170; 20’ run @ 8:49

2x10' @ NP 199, IF 0.99, Cd 75; NP 197, IF 0.986, Cd 84
30’ @ NP 169, IF 0.844 , Cd 80
Total bike 1:12 @ NP 172, IF 0.859, Cd 75
Total run 35' @ 8:45, 4 miles on the deadmill.

Wednesday – Run, track workout
Repeat pushup W5-C3-D1. Took 30 minutes between sets but I finished 36-40-30-24-40. I think I need to adopt Scott's idea of taking a week to do each day. Will redo W5-C3-D1 on Friday too.
Went to UMO to use the track for my run tonight. Big lights not on, just general security lighting. Overcast but no rain, 57* NE wind at 15 mph.
Intervals: Zone 4 = 7:20
800 @ 7:01 - a little over cooked but was enjoyable
1600 @ 7:18, 7:19 - spot on

Zone 3 Volume - 29:52 total; 4 miles @ 7:28
7:30; 7:22; 7:31; 7:24
Total workout 1:03:31; 8.2 miles @ 7:45
Really felt good. No fade even on the last mile. Solid run.
Thursday – Bike intervals: 2x10 (3) @ 200, 20’ @ 170
2x10' @ NP 202, IF 1.009, Cd 82; NP 204, IF 1.019, Cd 81
40’ @ NP 171, IF 0.855, Cd 84
Total bike 1:12 @ NP 173, IF 0.867, Cd 79

Friday – rest day with pushups

Repeat pushup W5-C3-D1. Only about 5 minutes between sets but I finished 36-40-30-24-40. Not the best set because of the long rest intervals but all the pushups were solid. Plan to move to W5-D2 on Monday.

Kyle and his fiancĂ© Maria are driving in from Kentucky tonight or early tomorrow. It will be nice to see them. They will be visiting till Monday morning then head off to Cape Cod for Thanksgiving at Nana’s house.

Sunday, November 14

Sunday Run….

Another spectacular day in Maine!  Unusual for mid November, today was the second warm sunny day in a row..  There will be plenty of days where I will be very happy to be deadmilling in the pain-cave, but it would be so hard to run on the deadmill on a day like today.

Still having trouble getting my head wrapped around the intensity thing on the runs.  After 15 marathons in 6 years, I have become comfortable with mixing a long run, tempo run and some speed or hill work to fill my weeks.  This plan has no volume – only intervals and hard ones at that.  Yesterday was a bike - hard FTP intervals, then a run – yeah, more FTP intervals. 

Today was all run, and you guessed it, all intervals.  The MS included 1x 0.5 (3’) then 2x1 (4’) all Z4 @ 7:05. Additional time to fill 50 minutes would be Z3 @ 7:14.  Neither of those paces are easy.  They’re not supposed to be, but man…. I think I need a break. 

At least today I could warmup and get past the Big Apple Hill before I got into my first interval.  That helped some. But the thoughts of quitting the running portion of the EN OS training program keeps running thru my mind.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy intervals and really hard zone 4 efforts.  Heck, one of my favorite speed sessions had always been Yasso 800’s.  but that would only be one day.  The other days I’d do a 8 or 10 mile tempo, 6 mile easy and a 14 mile long run.  With EN every run these past 2 weeks has been interval work, all in zone 4!

Ok, ok, enough whining….. despite my complaints, today’s run went well.  I was close to, but slightly over my target paces.  I think slightly over is better than under – I just hope it doesn’t come back and bite me later.  Details below:

#1 – 0.5 @ 6:58, HR 164, Cd 88
#2 – 1.0 @ 7:02, HR 170, Cd 91
#3 – 1.0 @ 7:01, HR 170, Cd 91

Extra – 1.2 @ 7:11, HR 169, Cd 87

Workout total 6 miles in 46:38 @ 7:52, HR 161, Cd 85

The one reoccurring thought I had was ‘I miss the 14+ mile weekend runs’. 

Tomorrow is an ‘off’ day – no bike and no run.  I will be doing my 100 pushup challenge though.  Today I retested and managed 46 straight.  Just barely good enough to advance to Week 5, Column 3.  At lunch I will need to do 36, 40, 30, 24, then 40+.  I hope my arms don’t fall off in the process……

Run Strong my friends, run strong.

Saturday, November 13

Saturday brick

Bangor area set a new record high today of 62*, breaking the 1946 high of 61*.  We don't often get nice weather in mid November, let alone it falling on a weekend.  It was a cloudless day with a light NE breeze and low humidity.  There was no way I was going to sweat and drool in the pain-cave on a day like today.

Had a great workout today, but not by the bike numbers I tested to.  They are just too low.  Z4/95-100% should be hard but it just isn’t so.  My work-around? Using a WAG.  Instead of 183, I’m gonna go with 200 for now, tempered by RPE as needed till I retest (maybe this coming week).

The other issue I had were the hills.  Couldn’t figure out how to manage the power swings going up and down with the terrain. 

On the Bike:  FTP=200 (WAG)

#1 – 8:16 @ 1.053, Cd 90
#2 – 8:23 @ 0.996, Cd 90

#3 – 16:05 @ 0.921, Cd 89  over cooked these, oops
#4 – 15:45 @ 0.958, Cd 91

Entire workout 1:19:23
TSS 116, NP 189, IF 0.944, VI 1.1, Cd 85

For the Run:  Z2 @ 7:32; Z3 @ 7:14

10:25 @ 7:53 (uphill)
8:59 @ 6:43 (downhill)

From home the first 1.2 miles has 4 hills, all up.  The first is the steepest and sets the stage.  I know from running this route for years that my real pace for this section is Garmin pace +/- :30 seconds depending on my direction.  So, by my estimation I did hit my targets OK.  Actually, the 6:43 pace coming back was almost easier than the 7:53.

Looking forward to tomorrows run.  I miss running……

Friday, November 12

This weeks training sessions

After a long weekend of walking all of Brooklyn and lower Manhatten, it felt great to get back to something I understand - the pain cave. It was all I could think at work on Tuesday… wishing the day would end so I could go workup a big sweat.

Tuesday’s bike session was to be 3x8’ @ 183w plus 20’ @ 150w followed by 25’ run with 3x30” strides. I tried to stick to the plan as written but it was hard to hold the power down. I kept going too hard, over the target FTP.... All my results were more than 5% over even though I was trying to hold back. Maybe I need to redo my FTP test I did and reset my target numbers.

Entire bike workout:
Duration: 1:05:11
TSS: 87.9 (IF 0.903)
Norm Power: 165w

Entire run workout:
Duration: 26:00
rTSS: 34.3 (IF 0.858)
Distance: 3.093 mi
HR 153
Cadence: 82
Pace 8:25

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh, that felt great!

Wednesday’s run
Running in the dark at the track on a chilly night 37*, 17 - 22 mph NE wind. The big lights were not on, just 2 general illumination lights but enough to see. The plan called for 3x800 with 400 recovery and 1x1600 tempo to complete the main set; then 25’ mod hard.

Tempo pace @ 7:05

WU: 10' - 2000m
#1 800m @ 6:57; IF 1.03, HR 169, Cd 92
#2 800m @ 6:57; IF 1.021, HR 179, Cd 92
#3 800m @ 7:15; IF 0.977, HR 176, Cd 91
#4 1600m @ 7:01; IF 1.003, HR 180, Cd 91

Base Volume 5000m 24:34 @ 8:19; IF 0.856, HR 171, Cd 86

Total workout
48:05 @ 7:55; IF 0.901, HR 173, Cd 87, Distance 10.2 Km

Solid run, only flaw was some fade during the second lap of #3. The final 5K included walking the first turn after the hard 1600m. So the overall average pace was great considering.

Thursday’s bike
Had trouble holding back again tonight. Had to stare at Borg (my power meter CPU) during both intervals to keep from really blowing the number out. For the final 40', I stopped looking and just pushed the peddles at a comfortably hard pace, one that I could run steady for an hour. Still had a lot left in the tank when I was done.

2x8 @ 183w + 40' @ 150w

#1 @ NP 197, IF 1.079, VI 1.02
#2 @ NP 186, IF 1.019, VI 0.99
40' @ NP 167, IF 0.912, VI 1

Total 1:15:13 @ NP 167, IF 0.912, VI 1.07

I'm getting more convinced my AM test missed the mark. I'll keep going for a while longer before I retest.

The initial test was done in the AM because they (the EN team) all profess that the plans were written to be done in the AM. But after just one morning routine, the FTP test, I don’t think I can do that. The nausea and fatige from the test lingered all day. I still felt like crap that evening. Workouts have to be at night…. In the dark….before I eat dinner. I just can’t do it in the morning. I have a hard enough time getting up for work, let alone getting up an extra 2 hours early. The second bad thing about AM workouts is that I spend the entire day sitting in a chair looking at a computer. The days I have done AM workouts I can’t stay awake at work. By 10 o’clock, my head is on my desk and I’m suffering from narcolepsy.

One last point. I am still new to all this training with power and pace. All the techno-bable and acronyms. So if workouts are posted in different formats, well that’s just me trying to figure out how best to get it out there.

Run strong my friends, run strong

Wednesday, November 10

NYC Weekend Recap...

Friday morning we boarded a flight from Bangor to LaGuardia. We were heading for NYC to spend some time with Nicholas Carole’s son, the engineer. 

We caught a cab and eventually made it to Akwaaba Mansion in Brooklyn.  Despite the cabby going the wrong way, he did zero the meter until we got back to LGA and heading the correct way.  Nice B&B, lots of history in that house.  After a bit we headed to the downtown area of Brooklyn to wait for Nick.  Wandering around brought us to the Brooklyn Bridge and got to see the NY skyline by night.  Dinner was at  Grimaldi’s Pizzeria .  Rated #1 best pizza in NYC.  There was a line of about 40 people waiting for a table at 9PM – lucky for us we jumped the line because we were the only party of 3 (the others were groups of 4,5 and more).  Great pizza. 

Saturday we spent a few hours at the Metropolitan Art Museum checking out all the kewl stuff. Well, some of it anyway.  A person could easily spend 2 or 3 days there. 

Then we rented some bikes and biked the entire Central Park – what a great way to see it.

Nick and Carole in Central Park

Then we headed down to lower Manhattan, Ground Zero, and the controversial mosque community center. 

 The mosque community centerhas to have NYPD standing guard 24/7 – tax dollars at work….

Headed to Brooklyn and Nicks apartment, dinner at a nice Italian bistro then off again to see where Nick works, a place called MakerBot – "Robots that make things".  The best way to describe what it: 3D printer that can make amazing plastic things.  Check it out!

Nick at his office

Sunday was another day of walking. First from Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge, along the lower east side waterfront.  Took a ‘water taxi’ ride around lower Manhattan and past the Statue of Liberty.  More walking up Wall Street and up thru Chinatown before jumping a subway to go get our luggage for the final trip back to LGA.

Battery Park, Lower Manhattan

feeling dizzy?

In all we must have walked 12 or more miles, traveled on no less than 28 subway rides, 1 bus and 2 airplanes.  Every hour of each day was filled to the brim with being busy doing something.  Nice trip, I really enjoyed the weekend, but…. I’m not a city guy and I am very happy to be back home.  No more sirens, trains, or 10’s of thousands of people all coming and going…..

Wednesday, November 3

Running in circles better than hamster wheel

Ok Team – my 5K test is in the books:  Time = 21:29 | HR = 186 | vDot = 47.5

NovOS 5K vDot Test:
    Duration:                 21:29
    Work:                     n/a
    rTSS:                      44.7 (1.082)
    NGP:                      6:43 (239.4 m/min)
    Pa:HR:                   7.38%
    Distance:                3.193 mi
                                   Min     Max    Avg
    Heart Rate:             139     196     186     bpm
    Cadence:                50       100     91       rpm
    Speed:                    0         12.9    8.8      mph
    Pace                       4:39    0:00    6:50    min/mi
    Altitude:                  152     152     152     ft

Went to the U Maine track under the lights after work today.  Air temp 35* when I left home, 32* on return.  Started with a relatively short warm-up – 4 laps, gradually accelerating by feel, to a hard run for the last full lap.  Figured I’d be good to go so I walked for 2 minutes – likely a mistake to recover that long, 1 minute would have been better and kept me in check the first test lap.

Start the test and hit the gas.  By 200 meters I knew I went too fast.  By 400 I was on unsustainable pace of 6:03 and was forced to back down or blow up all together.  Second mile I dialed in to a pace I thought I could cling to at 6:52.  My third mile became excruciatingly difficult – eyes closed most of the way – pace slipping to 6:59.  Final half lap felt flat – no kick.  It took all I had just to not slow down any more but was surprised to find my pace slightly faster the last 200 at 6:48.

No vomit, but had some snot in my  moustache and slobber on my shirt.  Walked back to start line for water and decided to finish the 60 minutes running easy(er).  Did 16 more laps (4.14 miles) in 33:53.  I was surprised my 8:50 pace at the start crept faster as I recovered.  By the end of lap 16 my average pace was down to 8:14.  Total workout (WU, MS, CD) 63 minutes, 8.3 miles.

Mile 1 -  6:24 ~ HR=183 ~ IF=1.161 ~ Cad=93
Mile 2 -  6:49 ~ HR=186 ~ IF=1.067 ~ Cad=91
Mile 3 -  6:58 ~ HR=187 ~ IF=1.041 ~ Cad=89
Mile 3.2-  1:18 ~ HR=188 ~ IF=1.038 ~ Cad=90  (6:48)

Awesome test.  My previous vDot value of 44 was based on my recent Boston qualifying pace @ 3:32:57.  I thought a 5K effort would be slightly higher but I never expected it to be 48!  It also bumped my HR zones a bit to places that have always been too painful to do for long.  I guess I have to find a new level of misery to hit and hold my shinny new vDot/LTHR numbers.  Wahooeeeee!

Run Strong my friends, Run Strong

Monday, November 1

Feeling Green…

OMG – 10 hours after my FTP bike test and I still feel like I am going to hurl.  Not as bad as first off the Drainer, but bad enough that eating and drinking are still dangerous. 

I have always been a late day person.  I never liked getting up early for things.  All my training has been in the evenings except for weekend long runs that usually started late morning to mid afternoon.  Seriously, it is much more normal for me to wait till 8:30 or 9 PM to go for a 70 to 90 minute run then have diner just as the late news comes on at 11.

Endurance Nation (EN) has their own philosophy and there are a few things that are VERY different from what I have been used to up till now.  The first and most notable is the notion of building “fast first, then add far”.  I, like so many others have been pummeled by the build “base first, then get fast” mantra that has been around for years.  Well, I am willing to try things their way in part because I see real potential in the method, but also the Team collective of experience and proven success stories really is hard to argue with. 

The other big difference is that it is strongly suggested that workouts be done in the AM.  That’s gonna suck big-time in my book!  Likely, it will be one of the hardest things for me to come to grips with – the training hours – not the sum of hours, but the time of day – i.e. early in the morning  Arrrrgggg!  I have to get up at what time???? And then you want me to do what? Are you fr$##@ nuts? 

Today was a particularly good example.  I woke several times during the night thinking of the brutal session waiting for me in the PC.  Then at 5AM I got some coffee brewing while I prepped for battle with towels, water, and a barf bucket.  Between the coffee, TV, and adjusting everything 14 times, I finally got started on my warm-up at 5:30.  In less than 15 minutes of light spinning and a few spin-ups I hit the Interval button on “Borg” and started.  Borg is what I call my fancy Joule 2.0 computer head. 

I don’t think Borg will be a nice friend.  More like an evil cybernetic slave-master, bent on my self destruction.  He wants to see rivers of sweat pouring off my body into ankle deep pools around the bike.  Forcing me to push harder and harder until I begin convulsing, spraying vomit as I fall off the Drainer.  He laughs with a tauntingly monotone synthetic voice as I writhe in my putrid slime, whimpering and begging for compassion……

Well, I did survive my first encounter with Borg.  It was not pretty; my numbers were low as expected.  I didn’t vomit during the test, but the last 7 minutes I was getting close.  It only got worse as I cooled down.  I was light headed, nauseated, legs were jelly, and I couldn’t seem to stay warm.  Hot shower felt nice and so did the wood stove, but minutes later I was shivering aging.  Eventually I the worst passed and I made my lunch and had to get to work.

My Normalized Power for the 42 minute test came in at 183, resulting in a 2.6 W/Kg.  The really good thing about crappy power numbers is the great potential to dramatically improve over the next 20 weeks.  I will just need to toughen up and hold fast, no matter what Borg does.

Sunday, October 31

Calm before the storm and weekend recap

Tomorrow I start the OS with a bang – a Functional Threshold Test (FTP) on the bike Drainer down in the Pain Cave. It will consist of a warm-up then 2x20’ (2’) – a 42 minute, puke inducing, all out effort. For the next 20 weeks I will be spending many miserable hours sweating downstairs in the PC. Workouts on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are on the Drainer. Run workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday will most likely be DeadMill sessions, but I will try to get my Sunday runs outside as much as possible.

To get myself ready mentally tor the FTP test, I have done 3x8’s, 2x10’s and 2x12’s on Tues, Thurs, and Sat and I can honestly say 2x20’s scare the crap out of me! I just may need that barf bucket before I get done…..

The other thing I was working on this past week was a 100 pushup challenge. I tested on Monday then tried to get all 3 daily workouts in a row starting Wednesday. Day 1 and 2 went OK and I was able to hit my targets according to the plan (week 3, column 3). Friday didn’t go so well. I knew I should have waited till the weekend but was anxious to get done (stooped). The other difference on Friday was sticking to the 120 second recovery breaks. On day 1 and 2 I had given myself 15 to 20 minutes between sets – made it easier. When I asked the EN forum about it, I was scolded for my pansy-ass efforts…. I think at that point I knew I was going to fail the week and have to repeat. I did reasonable well and hit 4 of the five sets: 22, 30, 20, 20, and 20. Thing is, the last 20 was supposed to be 28 and it was impossible to get a single pushup past 20. The entire last 20, my arms were limp like spaghetti, and my core quivered and shook with every effort. I got half way up on 21 and collapsed. My shoulders and arm are still sore from the effort. In my defense, prior to Monday’s 30 pushups, I had not done a single pushup in nearly a year, and even then it was not more than a few times. This past week in 3 sessions and test I completed 332! Next week I need to get to 340 for me to move on to week 4.

Run Strong

Wednesday, October 27

How hard can that be?

I looked at the pre-season schedule to see what I could do to get ready for the Out Season (OS).  I just finished a marathon and only had 1 week to prepare, but the sheet had 4 weeks of buildup.  So, where do I start?  Even week 3, the toughest week, didn’t seem all that difficult – I decided I’d begin there. 

The bike session was simple enough, WU 10’, MS 3x8’ (5) @ z4, CD.  I mean really – it will be less than 45 minutes.  I can do most anything for 45 minutes, right?  Three minutes into my first interval I realized I was in trouble.  I thought I started EASY, but now I’m I feel like I’m gonna die and I still have 4 ½ minutes to go!  Somehow, the 5 minute recovery only took 2 minute (seemed like it anyway) and I was back mashing the pedals.  Second interval went better – started even easier (wimpier) and had better cadence.  By the end of the third, I was done – I mean totally spent – toast – wiped out – finished!  And it looks so easy on paper…….hmmmm.

I am beginning to wonder about the test next week.  That will be a KILLER.  After warm-up, it is 2x20’ (2) @ z4 effort.  That’s 40 minutes going as hard as I can with next to no break at all.  The general plan is to go so hard you puke just as you end!  I keep reading about how you need to have a trash can by the bike just in cased.  Nastiness……

Pushup Challenge – yeah that’s hard too.  I tested yesterday and managed to get 30 good form pushups before I collapsed right there.  Good thing there wasn’t a puddle of drool – though I suspect when I get farther along there might be…… yuk! 

Today at work I started the program.  According to the rules, 30 pushups has me at level 4 (what ever that means) starting on week 3.  So today I did 14, 18, 14, 14, and 20 for a total of 80.  The last 20 were hard.  I wonder how sore I will be come tomorrow……

Tonight is a run night.  The plan calls for 50’ at z2 with 5x20” strides.  Most likely it will be around 6 miles.  I just hope it isn’t pouring rain when I get home.  Unlike some others (Caratunk Girl), I don’t enjoy running in the rain all that much.

Run Strong

Monday, October 25

But I can't read it....

New look.  Had some off-the-record comments that my blog was too hard to read with the transparent background, so..... I had to do some minor renovations.  Critiziems, both constructive and critical are welcome.  Of course, if no one actually reads it, well then it is a mute point. 

Hey Mandy, no need to write sympathy comments.  I'm a grownup now and I can take the isolation of not having validation.  :-)

No, training tonight.  tomorrow I do have another pre-OS bike session: 3x8' (5') @ Z4.  Also plan to start 100 pushup challange tomorrow as well.  I will do the test in the AM and the bike intervals after work.

.... I wonder if anyone has seen the fluffy bunnies tonight? 

Run Strong

Sunday, October 24

Post Mary Noodling

Today was a run day. My first since MDI. Felt good to get out and feel the rhythm of the feet. After a sleeping late and several cups of coffee, I put my season training plans away and dressed for cool weather running. It was 48* with a light NW breeze – perfect for me. Shorts, tee, arm-warmers gloves and a beanie to start.

The plan was to go 20 minutes easy and turn around. Well, as I crossed the bridge towards UMO, I decided I should see how far it was to the UMO track. Next week I start my Out Season (OS) and will need to do a 5K vDot test and that would be a great place to do it. Twelve and a half laps – nearly all out on a uniform surface, no hills and wind not a one-way factor. When I got there it was empty so I started around. My Garmin chirped mile 3 on the back stretch and I exited on the other end. I probably should have gone back the same way but wondered what the distance was the other way (Stillwater to Bennoch).

It felt so good not to be concerned about heart rate or pace for a change. I sped up a little, then slowed way down for a bit. It was like since I didn’t have to stay on pace, I intentionally altered it – because I could. Most of the time when running I get so ‘in the moment’ of running I forget to look around. Today it was just the opposite. Just noodling along, checking out Halloween decorations, watching crows arguing over some road kill and the like. Unstructured running. That’s what got me started so many years ago. Sure I like the training and data tracking and all. But every now an again, I need to go out and just run. Today was that day.

Maybe I should insert ‘Noodling’ days into all my training. It would be nice to noodle at least twice a month. Hhhmmmmm….

Yesterday I did a demo set of intervals on the trainer. Carole came down to join me. She was doing a 4 mile walk-run on the DeadMill. We had Bourne Supremacy queued up for distraction. I don’t think either of us saw any ‘fluffy bunnies’ but we really didn’t expect to either…… After a 5 minute warm-up I hit the interval button on my Joule and quickly spun up to speed. The first 4 minutes seemed too easy but that feeling didn’t last past minute 6. By then I was getting to understand what I was in for…. I knew nothing. At 10 minutes I found myself looking at the clock about every 20 seconds. Finally I hit the 12 minute mark – gasping for air. Four minutes later I was starting my second 12 minute session. This time I felt the burn start much earlier. I tried not to see the clock till I though I was close to the end. No way! That had to be more than 8 minutes! Must be something wrong with the clock. By 10 minute mark I was looking at the clock every 10 second. I didn’t think I was going to hold on till the end. Of course I did. I can’t quit. I hardly even started.

Still learning about the trainer and the power meter. That will be a long slow process I think. At this point the data are not important. mostly just trying to get to a place so I am ready to test next Monday. Protocol for the test is WU then 2x20’ (2). Meaning start with a warm up, then two 20 minute intervals with a 2 minute recovery in between. My normalized average power for the 42 minute session will be my FTP (functional threshold power) that will guide all my training until I retest 4 weeks later.

Run Strong

Friday, October 22

Friday’s are long…

That’s because I drive to Ashland for the day as part of my job. I go there to provide technical support to the staff in the field office. Five hours of driving…. Seven hours of work. Like I said, long day.

The big news is I joined Endurance Nation for online coaching and support as I begin the long training cycle leading up to Ironman Lake Placid, aka IMLP or IMUSA. More about EN another time. Suffice it to say their methods are different than the typical ‘build your base’ that I have always followed but I drank the Kool-Aid and I liked it.

What I did want to talk about is my ‘Pain Cave’ where I will be spending a lot of time – 20 weeks worth starting November 1. I have a treadmill I bought several years ago, but for long course training I needed to add a bike trainer. I figured I would gain more in terms of functional speed, power, and endurance by training with power than I would if I spent twice as much on a fancy looking carbon fiber tri-bike.

The trainer is the Cycleops Fluid 2 – got it at Bar Harbor Bike last week. Joe gave me a great deal and saved me like 15% off list! The last sweet addition is my Power Tap Pro+ power meter. Got it from They put it in a Velocity Deep V with bladed spokes and wheel covers to make a pseudo disk wheel. Yeah, lots of $$ for all that bike bling. I tell ya, building an outfit for long course tri racing is EXPENSIVE!

Since the marathon, I have not run at all. I did 25 minutes on the trainer last night mostly to try an figure out how to use the PM and the WKO+ software. With 1 more week before my OS (20 week out season) starts, I plan to do a few short intervals on the trainer and several 20 to 30 minute runs. If the weather is reasonable, I’ll run outside. But if it is 43* and raining, I am going to have to put the time in on the DeadMill – uugggg.

Next update late Sunday or Monday, till then….

Run Strong

Tuesday, October 19

Knees Up, Drive Home... MDI Race Report

That was my mantra for the final mile …knees up, drive home…knees up, drive home…. By the downhill stretch at mile 25, my legs were so fatigued that I needed to constantly remind myself to keep pushing. Otherwise I would resort to the ‘marathon shuffle’ that is often seen late in a race. My PR was on the line and Boston qualifying time could also be in jeopardy. If I got to the finish and missed both goals because I didn’t try hard enough, I would be brutally disappointed in my lack of grit and determination. To be truly satisfied, regardless of the outcome, I must be completely spent at the finish line – to the point where I couldn’t go farther unless I was walking.

Saturday afternoon, the day before the race, I drove to Bar Harbor in pouring rain. The rain continued all afternoon forcing me to wait and see if I could get one last easy run in. I really needed to run. My head was not where it should be pre-race. I was feeling apprehension about how to dress for weather, how to pace, etc. Finally at 5 PM the rain let up and out the door I went – not sure how far I’d go, just that I needed to get out and hit the mental reset button. My hotel is the starting line, so I ran the beginning of the course and wasn’t ready to turn around until the 2 mile mark. The moment I started back, the rain returned. Easy at first but it picked up in intensity reaching a steady hard rain by the time I returned to the hotel – drenched but mentally cleansed. The hot shower finished the process, leaving me in a calm, quiet space, free of the static and noise that plagued me all day.

I met my friends Brent and Lori at the pasta dinner. Brent is an avid boater and an intense competitor. He had signed up for MDI at my prodding only to develop a back injury mid-training. I could tell the minute I saw him that he was going to run. He didn’t quite know it yet, but I did – I could see it in his enthusiasm. Within minutes he was asking what kind of strategies would help if he was to run. The more we talked, the more hooked he became until he finally admitted he really wanted to try.

Wakeup was at 5 AM for coffee and my mandatory pre-race sandwich of PB&J on wheat. Local weather said 43* overnight warming to mid 50’s with clear skies, low humidity, wind from the NW at 10 to 15, perfect weather for running. My run kit included shorts, Crow singlet over a wicking tee, arm warmers, gloves, beanie and hydration belt. I pre-placed 3 water bottles on the course at miles 8, 13 and 19. I planned Gu for miles 5, 9, 13, 18, and 21.

Just outside my hotel room people were assembling and milling about. All filled with energy and enthusiasm as the sun rose on the day. I walked up and down the staging area several times looking for Brent but never found him. Maybe he reconsidered and wasn’t going to show up. Another friend was there – Roger Marquis. He and his son Hogan had been the guest speakers last night following the pasta dinner. They spoke of the “Wicked Long Run” they did for the American Cancer Society. The trip started in Maine and ended in Florida. It was just the 2 of them, 1 bike, and was otherwise unsupported. In all, they ran and biked 1,372 miles in just 27 days! Today, Roger’s plan was to pace 8 minute miles for any 3:30 hopefuls like myself. I planned to join him and see if I could keep up. That would give me a second marathon PR for the year and re-qualify me for Boston. For me, anything under 3:36 would be good for Boston, but I wanted more, I wanted to PR on one of the toughest marathon courses around – my ‘home’ race at MDI.

The air was filled with excitement as we waited for the cannon start. Bouncing on their toes, shaking out their arms, readjusting everything for the 3rd or 4th time. Then BOOM! In an instant nearly 1,000 people all start moving all a once, slowly at first but quickly accelerating to full strides. I fall into pace with Roger who is chatting about this and that. Within a few minutes, I see my pace is way too fast but my heart rate (HR) hasn’t caught up yet. The first mile ends as the we begin the first of many hills.

The race strategy I need to follow if I expect to do well requires me to manage my HR throughout the race. Keep it in the middle of zone 2 through mile 4. The bulk of the race, from mile 6 to mile 20, need to be run ‘in the box’. The ‘box’ is the high end of my aerobic capacity in upper zone 3. In other words, always be pushing. Going hard but not all out. Many of the hills will push me into zone 4 but I need to limit that as much as possible or I will fall apart around mile 21, just when I need my motor to be strong for the long hills at the end. It will be a balancing act between pushing up hills and holding down my HR. Too much either way will cause me to fall short of my goals for the day.

Well, Roger’s pace turns out to be too fast for me in the beginning. It will take me a mile or two to get to that pace and I know it. I say goodbye and watch him drift off ahead as we climb the hill past mile 1. Watching him pull away, I turn my thoughts inward – to be in the moment, focus on executing this race better than at any other time. I’ll need that focus to get me through.

Despite all the good intentions I still let my HR climb too high too often. I am not running ‘In the Box’ as I should be – not bad enough to wreck the race, but I know it would be best if I held back more, I can’t help it. I crest the long climb at mile 3 at the expense of miles late in the race but it feels good to just run. Miles 4 to 6 are fast – 7:40ish. The hill in Otter Creek spikes the HR again. Every time I do that I know that I’m squandering capital I will need later. Again and again I drive up the hills, 8 hills in the first 10 miles, but still I feel strong through the middle miles. Am I trying too hard? I don’t know yet….

Passing thru Northeast Harbor and the half way point, the route joins Somes Sound and a sustained headwind up the hill at 16. Running in the shade into the wind was cool Had it been longer I might have gotten chilled. In the second 10 miles there are 8 more hills. Including 2 particularly steep little buggers at 18 & 19. As I turn the corner at mile 20 towards Somesville, I can tell I spent too much ‘capital’ and I was going to really struggle up the final hills. Too much? Still not sure…..

Not very tall or steep, the long slow grade from 21 to 22 is a mental killer for me. As you start the incline the entire mile is visible – the view is of a long, long, way to go….. By now my pace has suffered and it is hard to hold 8:25 and that isn’t going to be good enough. The little dip at Echo Lake helped my pace but I was definitely struggling and there were 2 more climbs yet to go. It was tough, but I trimmed the pace to 8:15 temporarily. Then the steeper hill at 24 really slowed me almost to a shuffle so I went into a walk. I needed to. Just to the top, then back to running again. 8:45 and 8:58 for miles 24 and 25 because of the walking.

The last 1.2 miles is down hill and I gave it everything I had. Trying to hold onto 1 or both my goals. Knees up, drive home… knees up, drive home. Focus Steven. Knees up, drive home… knees up, drive home… I managed to hold a 7:21 pace for the last 11 minutes and crossed the line to hoops and cheers from the crowd as I fist-pumped my way to the line – the clock read 3:32:57! BQ Baby!

My finish was fantastic by any standards and I am extremely please with the result. It is good be able to re-qualify for Boston a second time this year. My only disappointment comes from my decision to drive too hard on the early hills. It cost me the second PR, missed it by 72 seconds. Time lost to fatigue from pushing too hard on the early and mid race hills. I was gambling with a loosing hand and it cost me the dearly. A PR at MDI is not something that many can get. The course is too tough. Hills in the beginning, through the middle and right up to the end. It is relentless with the hills.

MDI is one tough mother and I crushed it! Boston, here I come….. after a few days of rest of course.

Run Strong