Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I did it!

I did it! I finished the marathon! My time was 3:57, within the 4 hour goal by a narrow margin. This was not my best-hoped-for time, but I am quite pleased.
The weather was definitely a trial (and a good excuse!). The winds were something like 30 miles per hour, with gusts over 50 mph.

Afterwards, I said to myself "I'm never going to do that again!" but already, a few days out, I'm starting to think maybe I'll give it another try one of these years. I did quite a bit of walking on the last third of the course-- how well could I do without the walking? How about a flat course, and more favorable weather? etc. etc.

Well, I hope to post a longer, more detailed report on the marathon experience, but I just wanted to get this brief bit up now.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Last pre-marathon post

In two days I run the marathon! Hopefully, at this minute two days from now I will recovering from the run (otherwise I won't have run a sub-four-hour race). My goals are as follows:
Crazy, Unrealistic, But Techically Not Impossible Goal: qualify for Boston, finishing in under 3:20:59.
Optimistic But Not Likely Goal: 3:30.
Pleased With My Performance Goal: under 4 hours.
A Little Disappointed But Proud To Have Finished: any time, as long as I cross the finish on my own legs.
Have To Admit I'm Pretty Disappointed, But It Was Fun Trying: having to drop out before the finish.

I feel good. I think a finish around 3:45 is quite possible. I don't remember if I said this already, but after my 20 miler, I realized I could run the other 6.2 miles at a ten minute pace and still cover the distance in under 4 hours. That 20 miler is what gives me so much confidence. Sure, it was really hard, but I did it, and I have a couple of weeks of light training behind me now.

My biggest concern now is the weather. The forecast is for good temps (40's) but very windy. Winds of 30 m.p.h.! Gusts up to 60! My only consolation is that with a loop course, at least half of the time the wind is going to be at your back. To the best I can figure, the wind will be behind me during the worse part of the course, the hills of Sippawisett. They say the course is designed intentionally so that when you are most exposed on the coast, the wind direction is favorable.

This would be a good time to express thanks. I am very grateful to have had the good health to get this far. My brother Matt had to opt out due to knee trouble, somehow I have managed to avoid the same.

Special thanks to my wife Nova for her support and encouragement, her patience in listening to be obsess about the details of this whole endeavor, etc! Also, in the final month of running the training really bit into the family schedule.

So next post will have the results of what happens on Sunday! After that, this blog will switch gears and be more focused on general weight loss management stuff.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Farewell run on the Charles

Last Friday I ran my last longish run before the 'thon, 8 miles along the Charles River. As it turns out, I am switching jobs soon, and won't be working in Cambridge anymore, so this will be my last chance to run along the Charles.

It was a very nice run. What made it a fitting farewell is that the scenery was so nice. This is peak fall foliage time. Furthermore, the famous Head of the Charles regatta happened this weekend, so on my run I saw a ton of activity along the river, as crew teams were arriving from all over, and tents were being erected. I kept thinking that if someone wanted to make a movie with a scene of the main character running in Boston, this is what they would have arranged-- the Charles River, the fall foliage, and some teams rowing in the background.

I think this coming week is going to be hard-- the anticipation and all. But I am really looking forward to the marathon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I have a plan

Ok, so I didn't lose much weight at all in the last few months, as I had hoped to do. This is hard to believe, given all the training. Maybe I've converted some fat pounds to muscle pounds, at least. Also, as aluded to in the last post, I'm concerned about post-marathon weight gain. So now I have a plan that should help both concerns.

I'm going to restrict my diet to very healthy food from now until the marathon. No soda, no candy (including "preview" Halloween stuff), no chips, etc. This should be a no-brainer, of course, but for me this has never been about brain but about willpower. So this is what the plan will do: I will use the marathon as the motivation for good habits. This should work because I am so focused on that goal right now, and an ascetic lifestyle is actually appealing. My hope is that this effort will result in a momentum that will help me establish a good post-marathon diet.

Of course, I'll have to keep up sufficient carbs for my remaining training, as well as enough protein and good fats to help my body repair itself during this taper period. And of course I will do some carb loading in the final week. But I think that totally cutting the garbage might result in a 3 lb weight loss over the next few weeks. Every little bit counts when you have to haul your backside through 26 miles.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The big 2-oh

Saturday I ran the 20! I decided to do this on the bike trail that caused so many aches and pains in last week's 14 miler. Though this was somewhat of a risk, I eventually chose to do it because any 20 mile route around where I live was going to include some serious hills, so I might as well use a route that was familiar.

In order to achieve the mileage I had to run out 4.5 miles and back, repeat, then run 1 mile out and back. The 4.5 legs were almost completely downhill all the way out. I chose a deliberately stepped back pace, to minimize the risk of injury. The first out and back went well. The second out was good, but the return became more and more of a challenge. By the time I finished this leg, I knew the final two miles were going to be tough. I felt a slight bit of numbness in my legs. At one point, in the 20th mile, I had to stop to let a car pass, and it was really hard to start running again. I've never been like that before.

And so the inevitable question afterwards, that I ask myself after every milestone, if this had been the marathon, could I have finished the distance? I think I could have done 6 more miles, but it would have been very tough, and I might have needed to walk a bit. I was probably too conservative with the energy gels, so if I had taken one more the finish wouldn't have been so hard, and I might have felt more positive about what 6 more miles would be like.

However, I feel very good about the run. First, the pace averaged out to 8.5 minutes per mile-- if I can do this in the marathon, I could do the last 6 miles at a 10 minute pace and still get in under 4 hours. Second, even tho I was quite beat afterwards, the soreness didn't seem to last as long as from last week's 14. Finally, I have faith that the taper is going to put me in a better place on Oct. 29

A note on this blog. Most of the recent posts have been on the nitty gritty details of the marathon training. I have been thinking a bit about another topic which I had hope to explore through this blog, namely weight loss maintenance (specifically eating mindfully). I haven't had time to write on my thoughts. But it is obvious that after the marathon this will be a critical concern for myself. The sudden drop in mileage will coincide with the proliferation of holiday food, etc.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


A hard run

Due to scheduling issues I did last week's long run on saturday, at home. This was a 14 miler, and I did it on the bike trail. The bike trail is notiticable in that it is practically all downhill from the start to about 4 miles out where I usually turn around. To get the required miles I ran out and back for 8 miles, then out to the three mile mark and back for the other 6. That works out to two major downhill legs and (of course) two major uphills for the returns.

My pace was great going down for the first leg but I goofed the turnaround. I had located the 4 mile mark on the gmaps pedometer, but when I actually got there I could not pinpoint the spot. Eventually, after consulting my watch, I figured it was time to turn around. This made the run back unsatisfying because I couldn't properly judge my splits-- and I was particularly interested in whether I could keep my pace on the long uphill. On the second out-and-back I found the 3 mile spot pretty confidently, so for that part of the run I could check my splits and found that I was doing a good 8 minute pace (was hard work though).

When I got home I returned to the gmaps and determined that I had gone a good quarter mile to far out on the first leg. Figuring on that distance resulted in an average pace of 7.9 for the whole run. That made me feel very good, because if I can keep that pace for a hilly 14 mile run, then I should have a good chance of keeping a near 8 minute pace for the 'thon.

It's good my spirits felt good, because my body really ached after this run. Those hills really took it out on me. In fact I skipped my monday 5 miler to give myself more time to recover.

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