Archive for November 16th, 2008


Zory and I at the finish line (pictures courtesy of BT).


Chris at bottom far left; me in the white T in the middle.


Claire and Ron enjoying the sun.


Michelle’s run was impressive today


Coach Felipe, Eric and Beth. Eric got 3rd AG. Beth got 2nd Woman.

After a short sleep, I picked up Zory at her place at 5AM. We had a pleasant talk on the drive down. We parked over at the state park, and took the shuttle in.

This race goes from Sunset Park in Coronado to the Imperial Beach jetty. It’s a flat course, mostly on HWY 75, does an out-and-back for three miles total at the Naval radar station facility. After that, the final 1.1 miles follows the outside street at Imperial Beach and finishes at the jetty. I had no specific goals for this race. I wanted to make myself available, to support whatever goals my trainees were going after: Zory wanted to go 1:45. Chris was hesitant to commit to a similar goal, but she wanted to go withs us. Ron would run the first few with us and then go on his merry way. Temps were cool in the morning (61 degrees), but we knew it would go all the way up to the 90s by mid-morning.

We found the BT group easily near the back. The orange jerseys were really visible from two hundred feet away. Out the of the entire group, only three out of 30 didn’t wear the signature orange. We had great fun talking for an hour before the HM. A few athletes identified the sub-2 barrier as the goal for the day. We had a runner who was doing her first race ever. When it was time, we stood behind the 1:50 pacer group. So the plan was to follow an 8:30 pace, since it was identified as the race pace by Chris and Zory. They agreed to stay with me. I asked Ron to do as many 8:30s as possible, and slow down to his natural pace as needed. He was aiming for a sub-2 as well, so this strategy was as good as any in his current fitness state. Mike also stayed with us, but he usually ends up in the 2:10 range although he wanted a sub-2 today.

So the race went like that (maintaining 8:30s) up to mile 8. Chris was struggling a bit after mile 5, identifying 8:30 as maybe too fast for her. Zory was suprisingly competitive; she would go into surges and I would find her next to me from time-to-time. Chris was as efficient as could be; one pace, great gait, efficient breathing. We would stop by at least two water stations to get cups of water, but I would keep the pace and wait for them to catch up. I had to keep doing this to stay at pace. We would pass the time by talking about the views and the weather. The ocean was visible for many miles during the race, and the breeze was great. We also talked to a number of runners along the way. This is a very friendly race.

At mile 8, I went to Chris and asked what pace she was willing to do at that point. She said a 9:15-9:30 would work. I said she can, but I’d have to leave her to ensure that Zory gets her shot at 1:45. She said go for it. If I know Chris, she would truck along and make it in sub-2 today. Zory and I started off. At least for the first half mile, she was with me. Since I was in-front, I asked her to stay close and draft off me. Next thing I know, I couldn’t find her. She did one of her sudden slowdowns!

Anyway, seeing myself without anyone to pace for–I decided to run it in. Since I had plenty of energy left, I decided to just run at a natural pace that was slightly harder than what we were doing. I ended up running in the range of 7-7:30. This was in the out-and-back section and to the finish. I got hot there (no shade) and thankfully got some water at the 11 mile mark. Talk to Simon for a while, and also said Hi to Mona who was in the zone. Did see Michelle who was doing her first ever race at mile 12 when I was going into mile 10.5.

After passing an endless number of runners, I found myself at the finish. The BT group was gathered near the water station just a few steps away from the finish chute. It was great being met by supporters who congratulated you as you finished. I returned the favor to those who came after. Chris and Zory would come in together at 1:59. It was a new personal best for Chris; a little disappointing for Zory but she didn’t seem too distraught about it. She just didn’t have the fitness for it that day. Ron would come in at 2:05, just a little off from the sub-2 he wanted. Not bad. Mona got 1:56, and I gave her a big hug at the finish. She was so happy. Michelle, for her first HM, got 1:48. That’s a super result given this was her first!

Jay got 1:43. Felipe got 1:30. Our perennial champ Beth got second woman overall at 1:28. Fast girl. Gary got 1:45. This fast couple I follow in track got 1:46. So the majority came in between 1:30-1:50. Rachel, our 61-64 age grouper, got 3:00. Simon got 1:58 I think. Mike got 2:10 I’m sure.

We sat on the grass in front of the BT tent for an hour to wait for the awards. We wanted to support our fast runner Beth who was getting an award. We spent that time talking to everyone about anything and everything. Marty was running the BT tent so it was fun talking with him. Jay is pretty funny with his stories. Got to meet Claire, Ron’s wife. We shared packets of food available at the finish, but mostly soaked up the mid-morning sun and listened to the finish line band. Found out later that Mona was doing Las Vegas too! I don’t know what it is, but I just seem to automatically like talking to this woman. They gave us a finish line shirt, so I was grateful to change into it. It felt so nice, and I didn’t feel too self-conscious about hugging people with that nice clean shirt on.

After Beth got her award, the BT gang broke up the tent and started for home. Zory and I headed out to the shuttle stop. After giving those around hugs, we left for the day. The short shuttle ride was almost too comfortable, I actually dozed off for a bit.

All-in-all, a pretty successful day for our BT group and especially for our informal marathon training group. I talked to Chris after the race, and she was still in shock at coming in sub-2 for the HM. I know she has it in her. We basically agreed that there was great information in this race which will inform them on what to work on during the next few weeks. Ron agreed. Zory was a little more quiet, but we knew she was thinking of this as well. Chris and I did agree that for the Carlsbad marathon, we will stay at 9:30 the whole way.

I dropped Zory off at her place around noon. Gave her a congratulatory hug and took off. Boy, I was hug-happy today!

Mile 1 pace 9:12 heart rate 158
Mile 2 pace 8:29 heart rate 171
Mile 3 pace 8:31 heart rate 174
Mile 4 pace 8:34 heart rate 175
Mile 5 pace 8:33 heart rate 176
Mile 6 pace 8:37 heart rate 175
Mile 7 pace 8:52 heart rate 172
Mile 8 pace 9:15 heart rate 172
Mile 9 pace 8:12 heart rate 178
Mile 10 pace 7:57 heart rate 182 *
Mile 11 pace 7:37 heart rate 188 *
Mile 12 pace 7:44 heart rate 188 *
Mile 13 pace 7:31 heart rate 192 *
Mile 13.1 overall time 1:51:24 average pace 8:24 average heart rate 176  (shows as 1:50:10 in the final results)

* at these miles, I was doing surges of speed between 6:50-7:05. Just trying out my legs at this speeds on a race day. Very nice. But it does show very markedly in my average HR being very high. I got my work cut out for me as far as being able to maintain 7s throughout a marathon. I know I could maintain 7:30s easily for a HM, but the training effect here is that I got way faster (rather than traditionally slower) at the end of the HM.

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At least in the first 150 pages, I found out more about what I needed to know to keep from hurting myself. Good positive reinforcement for what I learned from RRCA.

Anyway, JD mentioned that there are 4 phases to training. I am not using his terms, but to make it easy–let’s call it foundation, build, late, and final phases. The foundation is basically putting slow miles in to prevent injuries. The build phase is to prepare the body for the work in the latter phases. The late phase is where most of the work gets done. And the final phase is where race adaptation takes place.

What’s really cool is that according to JD, marathon training easily fits this training phases system. He also mentioned what I know to be true–having visited the distance many many times acts as a source of base miles and training for the foundation phase.

What I learned from this segment is the necessity of running an assigned session at the assigned pace. Basically, the tendency to try to run a segment faster than before/last time/yesterday/last week is actually working against you. The runner never gets to sense if the workout is getting any easier, because running faster before you are ready for it is actually painful. And we do remember pain, and so we equate track with pain. JD said it shouldn’t be so.

I learned a new term–cruise intervals. I’m also learning parameters for how to conduct track workouts, especially the appropriate limits for each session so that overtraining doesn’t occur. I’m getting my head around the idea of making intervals unique to each runner; at least from observation, we get thrown into track workouts of similar duration. We get sucked into a certain group or speed by attribution (oh, they seem to be going as fast as I am so I’ll go with them). But that pace may be entirely inappropriate based on existing VDOT values.

He did mention that for the most part, speed is important to our society and especially for kids–since that is how the sports community measure potential. Recruitment and resource allotment always favor the fast and talented. JD mentioned that this is the reason why young athletes can’t develop endurance until after the last two years of high school. For young athletes, he recommends speed first before endurance. For older athletes, he pretty much knows we are about endurance (we frustrate our coaches and can’t be motivated like the young ones). He doesn’t come out and say we can’t go faster, but just seems to put it out there that we may benefit from good coaching.

I’m only halfway through. I’m very interested now in opening up all my coaching books and manuals. I want to discover all these tables and workout plans for track and field–what the coaches out there are prescribing for their athletes, young and old. Also want to find out if most authors are strongly influenced by JD, and how much of his work show up in theirs.

More to come…

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Gave me goosebumps.  It’s like I was transported back to the race.  Here is Julie Marschner’s video.  Enjoy!

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