Saturday, May 31, 2008

A few more Bayshore pictures

The images below were shot by the good people at Action Sports Images. They are low-res, web-only versions. But you can order the real deal online! We are buying prints of these three, so I felt that it was ok to do a little marketing. Here's hoping that with ample linking and careful attempts on my part to be responsible with their IP, they will embrace the Web 2.0-inspired attempt to promote their fine work.

Here's a shot from the first part of the race:

On the road

Here's a shot as I am coming into the stadium for the finish:
Coming into the stadium

And, of course, crossing the line!
Crossing the finish line!

...see? there are people behind me...

More Bayshore Marathon 2008 images - seriously, this is a beautiful course - here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tour de Cure

Easy Riders

One answer to the question "what's next?" ...the 2008 American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure event. It's a bike ride (not a race) to raise money for diabetes research and education. I will be riding 70 miles on Sunday, June 8th.

More info can be found on my Tour de Cure page, where you can also donate!

I did this event last year and raised over $1,500. I rode the whole thing on my commuter bike last year (see below) I look forward to doing it on my road bike this year.

Tour de Cure start

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Workout: Bike Recovery Ride

my bike

Thursday 5/29: Bike 1:15:00 or so, 24.7 miles recovery ride

I tried to go on my first club ride of the season, but nobody showed up today. So I rode the hilly loop instead. I didn't set my computer for the 5 miles or so that I rode to the rendezvous point for the group ride that wasn't to be. But my numbers for the loop were 19 miles at 18.7 mph. It was a nice, steady effort. I purposefully dialed back a little and just enjoyed it.

Maybe the group will be back next week.

Workout: Bike Intervals

my bike

Wednesday 5/28: Bike 45:00 or so, 10.5 miles or so, hill interval workout

3 mile warmup, spin high cadence (120 rpm)
5 x .5 mile hill climb WI, downhill RI
3 mile tempo (21.2 AVS)
2 mile cooldown, high cadence

Back on the suffer train! Just a short little ride this afternoon after work. I knew I didn't have much time, so I decided to get some interval hill work in. The climb here is not steep, but it is a sustained, long effort. The WI takes between 90 seconds and two minutes to complete, and a bit longer than 2 minutes for the RI unless I really try to go downhill quickly.

This is my first post-marathon workout blog post. It feels a bit odd, but I like putting these up in public. Keeps me motivated. And it's nice to look back and see what I've done over a given period of time. So until we have another big goal to work up to, I will just continue to report workouts. Look for more bikes than runs in the near future, anyway.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bill Ran a Marathon

He finished!!!

It's official! I finished the Bayshore Marathon yesterday in 4:10:20. I came in a little slower than I wanted to as you can see, but I am pleased with the result overall. It feels great to finish. And I struggled in the last part of the race.

Here are some of the numbers from the official results page:

1st Half marathon time: 1:47:32.25
1st Half-marathon pace: 8:13

2nd Half-marathon time: 2:21:30.30
2nd Half-marathon pace: 10:48

Marathon time: 4:10:20.00
Marathon pace: 9:30/M

I made a bit of a rookie mistake, it would seem, and suffered some consequences in the form of leg cramping at mile 19. Yes, this is also known as hitting the wall or bonking, but there are actually a couple of things that get referred to under this heading. Mine was that peculiar condition where the legs stop working. Physiologically, it is a condition in which the body can't get rid of the lactic acid fast enough to let the muscles in the legs work any more. So you cramp up and have to walk or slow way down to let things catch up again. I didn't suffer symptoms of running out of carbohydrate, a.k.a. "bonking" (low blood glucose is something I prepared for) or dehydration.

So the lesson here is one of lack of I know I should have 1) started slower and 2) trained just a bit differently, more tempo runs of longer distance to increase my lactate threshold would have been good. Hard to know until you have these things actually happen, of course, but there you go.

For all of that, I am quite pleased because through about the first 15 miles, I was on pace and feeling fine. Starting about mile 16 I slowed a bit and then around mile 19 had to walk. The first time, all the muscle groups in my legs were flopping around and rippling uncontrollably for a few seconds. Later, in the parking lot, I saw a guy about my age who was also suffering his way through the end of the race and he said "I've never seen anybody's legs do that before!"

Yeah, me neither. any case, it's done! Considering that the wheels fell off, I think that finishing just over 4 hours is quite good. In fact, when I came around and saw the clock, I was surprised given how much I had to walk during miles 19-24. I managed to run, slowly as it might have been, the last 2 and to finish in the stadium looking reasonably strong. I was 87th of 123 in my age group. And I managed to beat the oldest guy in the race, who was 80 years old, by well over a minute. Heh.

On to the next challenge...stay tuned to hear more about it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Weather & Other Pre-Race Thoughts

Well, the marathon is almost here! I've taken this week off for the most part to rest. I had just a little bit of tightness in my right IT band after my last run, and I thought resting that to be a bit more important than doing a little tempo work this week.

The weather outlook is good for race day! Here's the window we are most concerned with:


Cool, but pleasant seems to be the forecast with winds out of the ESE at 9mph and little chance of big gusts. All good.

It seems like a good time to recap my goals for the race. They are, in priority order:

    1. Finish
    2. Finish strong, not limping or crawling and without a significant fade if possible
    3. Finish in less than 4 hours
    4. Run close to my Planned Marathon Pace of 8:05-8:15 per mile, which translates to around a 3:35 marathon...ambitious.

I am just a bit nervous. Haven't raced in a long time. Not that I am a threat to win, but there is just a bit of anxiety with an event this long. As I've said here before, training for this race has instilled a lot of respect for any distance over 18 miles. Even the best are humbled by it, let alone those of us mere mortals who attempt such an effort.

I will post as soon as I can after the race on Saturday!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Training Log: 28.3

my shoe

Thursday, 5/17: 8 miles at PMP, 1:04:37

The goal for today was simple: practice that marathon pace! I ran my 8 mile loop right on the mark. But while the avg. pace was on target, it's a bit deceptive as there was a big wind. So it felt a bit more like an interval workout. I was 45 seconds ahead of pace at three mile mark, then 5 seconds behind at the six mile mark, and finished 3 seconds ahead overall. First and last mile with a tailwind, miles 4-6 into strong gusts.

I'll have a light week coming up since it is my pre-marathon week. I'll get a short temp run in sometime mid-week and maybe a bike workout if the weather cooperates. I'll also check the weather for race day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Training Log: 28.1 & 28.2

my shoe

Sunday, 5/11: 5 miles at 7:45/mi tempo run
Tuesday, 5/13: 2 miles intervals w/ Mike (new runner);

Busy busy this week...I am chairing a search committee and squeezing in my runs (and blogs) in the spare minutes between candidate visits. Sunday's run was uneventful and pleasant. Just keeping the fire stoked.

Tuesday was even more fun. My friend and colleague Mike has decided to try running, so I am helping him to do some a week. In exchange, he's helping me learn some martial arts to improve strength & flexibility. Mike is a teacher of Kuk Sool Won.

We did the first running workout yesterday, 2 miles worth of intervals with 1 minute WI at about 80% effort followed by a 2 minute RI. Mike came through like a champ!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Training Log: 27.2

my bike

Saturday 5/10: Bike 1:34:06, 30.3 miles, AVS 19.1 mph Long tempo ride

This was a my first longish ride on the Southern loop route that heads toward Mason, MI. It's includes some of the best (that is, *only*) real climbs around here too. It was windy, but not brutal, mostly out of the South and West, so I fought wind for much of the trip. Still kept up a good pace.

Caught a guy on the back side of the loop going up the first of two substantial climbs. He sucked my wheel for a while, and then I dropped him on the second hill...not out of spite, he was just laboring. He was a big tall dude, probably could hammer out 24mph on the flats without a problem. I was hoping he'd turn when I did and I could tuck in behind him for a bit, but I didn't see him after that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

That *Other* Marathon...

I found out today that I have been granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor at Michigan State. Nice to cross this one off the list!

Training Log: 27.1

my shoe

Thursday, 5/8: 4 miles at Tempo pace or a bit slower

Easy week, easy's tapering time! Hooray! Just over two weeks to go until the marathon. Today's run was an early morning affair before our faculty retreat at the lovely Brook Lodge.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Training Log: 26.3

my shoe

Saturday, 5/3: 22 miles in 3:16:06 or 8:55/mi (PMP +:50); Long(est) Run

This was it...the last long run! I finally paid attention to what long runs were for and deliberately slowed down for this one. It worked. I felt good the whole way and was able to do something my training plan recommends: in the midst of long runs, pick a couple of miles out and do those at PMP. I did mile 16 in 8:04 (PMP -:01) and mile 22 in 8:10 (PMP +5), and those were not huffing and puffing but just a conscious pickup of a little bit. In fact, the last mile felt kind of nice because it allowed me to stretch out as a I came in.

I debated going the whole distance today, but ultimately decided against it. The only reason I would do it is to have done it...physiologically there seems to be little to gain from indulging my "no surprises" neurosis. So 22 shall be the long one, until race day.

This sudden gust of rationality on my part was spurred by a couple of things. One, I read a little bit more about long runs and training last night and that convinced me that slower was really better than going at something like 80% or whatever I'd been doing. And it also convinced me that there was not much that 26 would do for you three weeks before a marathon that 22 wouldn't also do. So...there you have it.

I saw two fellow sufferers out there, one during mile 16 and one during mile 18. The first guy was not training for anything, and I envied him mightily. The second woman was iPodded, so no words were exchanged, just that little nod.

One other note: eating helps! I had two nutri-grain bars along the way today, around 11 miles and 15 miles + about 40oz of water total. Felt fine, only lost a pound.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Training Log: 26.2

my bike

Thursday 5/1: Bike 57:51 minutes, 18.8 miles, AVS 19.6 mph (Hilly loop)

May has arrived! Today's ride was tougher than it seems from the stats. I was up against a steady wind out of the East/Southeast at about 12mph, but I had a tailwind on the way home, making the last 6 miles a nice reward. On this rectangular loop, the long sides run East-West for 7 miles and the short sides are 2 miles each. A strong East or West wind makes for a tough ride, not only because you are in the wind longer but also because the end bits are very exposed. The East side leg, in particular, runs along M-52, a busy highway with nothing but farm fields on either side the whole way.

I don't mean to complain, though, because I kept up a good pace. It's Spring in Michigan, after all. And I was doing a workout of sorts rather than just pounding a steady cadence. I warmed up for 5 minutes and then did 2 minutes hard, followed by 2 minutes RI x 10 or 11...I lost count after a while. Where there were hills, my RIs were cut a bit short. Good interval workout in any case.