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Berlin Marathon Week #14 Day 4 A Tempo Run With a Funny Ending

Location: Santa Maria, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 67 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 9.28 miles

Type of route: flat

Time: 59 minutes, 41 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:26

Average heart rate: 162

Reason for Run: This was a long tempo run. The goal is to run comfortably hard for a sustained period of time. A tempo run builds strength and endurance. It gets the body used to running at an intense effort for a long period. ¬†Comfortably hard is a pace that’s difficult but not race pace. You should feel the increased intensity but it’s at an effort that you feel you can maintain for that particular distance without crashing at the end. I kept the pace in the range of my goal marathon pace to get the feel of running at that intensity.

How did I feel? I got lost. LOL! No, really, I did. One of the perils of running out of town. I had a route outlined and headed down a road next to farms away from the main town center. I always prefer to run on quieter roads. It’s more peaceful for me. I thought I knew how to get back to the main road near my room. However, I ended up next to a wrong street so I headed back and turned on another road. I ended up finishing right at the 101 freeway which was good. However, it wasn’t the street I thought. Uh oh. I don’t bring my cell phone on runs either so I couldn’t just look on a map to figure out where to go. A helpful gas station attendant pointed me in the right direction and I walked about a mile or so back to my room. The lesson is this: Double check maps when headed out for a run when out of town. You don’t want to get lost.

Other than that, I felt fine. My pacing was consistent for the first 7 miles. I felt the pace was manageable considering this was my first hard effort since my half marathon a week-and-a-half ago. I slowed a bit the final two miles. That was due, in part, to running into the wind. I really find running into wind irritating. It just annoys the heck out of me. It feels uncomfortable and the resistance is mostly unwelcome. Boo on the wind.

My left thigh didn’t bother me today though my legs did feel a bit fatigued after the run. Not surprising considering the length and effort. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll pay more attention to the streets and directions ūüôā

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #14 Day 3 Bugs On My Face

Location: Santa Maria, CA.

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 67 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 7.09 miles

Type of route: flat

Time: 51 minutes, 48 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:18

Average heart rate: 142

Reason for Run: This was an easy-paced recovery run following a long run. The goal was just that–to take it easy and give the legs a break in-between hard workouts.

How did I feel? Fine. ¬†I woke up with a little discomfort in my left thigh that’s been bothering me. That’s likely from yesterday’s long run of 15 miles. However, as the day went on, the pain went away. There was no pain during my run today but I, again, would say the thigh is not at 100% yet. Funny thing about my run–when I finished and returned to my room I saw two smashed little gnats on my face when I looked at myself in the mirror. It’s a “hazard” of running. It’ll happen to everyone. Your face is just like a car windshield when you’re moving. Sometimes the gnats even go into your mouth and you swallow them. It’s not quite the same as an energy gel nor as flavorful.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #14 Day 2 A Short Long Run

Location: Santa Maria, CA.

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 66 degrees

Type of Run: Long

Length: 15.03 miles

Type of route: flat

Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes, 13 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:28

Average heart rate: 140

Reason for Run: The long run is designed to build physical and mental strength as well as endurance. The body goes through changes when running long. It becomes more efficient burning fat as fuel. The heart gets stronger and more efficient pumping blood. Cells deliver and consume energy more efficiently. The long run today was on the shorter side for long runs as I’m building back up to normal marathon training mileage. I don’t want to burn my legs out a little over a week after a half marathon. Next week’s long run will be longer.

How did I feel? Good. The cooler weather makes such a big difference. It’s just a lot easier to handle a long run when it’s under 70 degrees than when it’s over 80 degrees. I feel spoiled..lol! There was no pain again in my left thigh but it’s not quite 100%. I’d say 93% to 95%. There was no fatigue at all today. I should add running in a new area makes the run seem longer than what it would be if I was in a more familiar area. This is obviously psychological because 15 miles is 15 miles anywhere. However, when I don’t know an area, I tend to find a small section and just run loops around the same streets. This helps me avoid getting lost. However, it can also be boring and seems tedious. That’s just me though.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #14 Day 1 Getting Back to Normal

Location: Santa Maria, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 67 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 6.31 miles

Type of route: flat

Time: 44 minutes, 59 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:08

Average heart rate: 141

Reason for Run: This was an easy run meant to gauge my physical condition to see if I can resume a regular marathon training week following my abrupt stop in the middle of a training run on Friday due to fatigue, a slight cold and dehydration.

How did I feel? Much, much better! Plus, no pain in my left thigh! As far as I’m concerned, this run was fantastic. The weather in Santa Maria was significantly cooler than anywhere else I’ve run since Salem, Oregon in mid-June, with the exception of last week’s overnight half marathon. The cooler weather makes such a big difference when running. Never underestimate how much hot weather can affect the body. It felt so good not feeling any discomfort in my thigh. My heart rate was back to normal for this run and there was no lingering effects of Friday’s fatigue and dehydration. The only thing that remains are some effects from the cold like a slight cough and some minor nasal congestion. Other than that, I felt like I could’ve run 14 to 15 miles. That’s a great feeling to have. Let’s hope the rest of this week goes as well as today. There’s nothing like the feeling of being pain and fatigue-free when running. I felt like nothing could stop me. That’s the best feeling you want when you run.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #13 Day 2 Knowing When to Stop

Location: Modesto, CA.

Temperature: Sunset, 89 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 3 miles

Type of route: flat

Time: 21 minutes, 52 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:17

Average heart rate: 169

Reason for Run: This was supposed to be an easy 6-mile run. However, I had to cut it short due to not feeling well.

How did I feel? Sickly and dehydrated. I stopped the run at 3 miles due to feeling unwell. It was a combination of warm, slightly humid weather, fighting off a minor cold, fatigue and tiredness from lack of sleep and dehydration. I started to get a little woozy so I stopped immediately. My heart was racing and the data indicated my average heart rate was 169, which was way, way too high for an easy run. I read up on dehydration and heart palpitations and an accelerated heart rate are both symptoms. In hindsight, I never should’ve tried to run. I didn’t feel all that well before heading out the door and could feel my heart racing beforehand. The first two miles felt unusually difficult considering my pace too. This is a good lesson to be learned. If you feel unwell during a run shut it down immediately. If you feel unwell before attempting a run–stay inside and rest. There’s no sense in forcing the issue as you may end up getting hurt or making the situation worse. I thought I could handle 6 miles but I was wrong so I stopped. As of this writing, I feel better and my heart rate is back to normal. I am taking Saturday off to rest. I’ll reevaluate Sunday and go from there. If the body says no, it’s no.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #13 Day 1 A Short Run Out of Town

Location: Modesto, CA.

Temperature: Sunset, 83 degrees

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 4.58 miles

Type of route: flat

Time: 34 minutes, 15 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:28

Average heart rate: 136

Reason for Run: This was a short, easy run on Thursday following my half marathon on Saturday night/Sunday morning. It was my first run since the race. I wanted to give my legs a chance to recover after racing 13.1 miles. The plan is to build up to 60-plus miles a week. I’ll do that with a reverse taper. Instead of decreasing toward race day, I’ll increase away from it.

How did I feel? Fine. The weather was on the warmer side. I’m in Modesto for work and will be here for a couple more day before heading to Santa Maria where the weather is supposed to be very nice, which should help my running. I took it easy and didn’t push myself. I wanted to see how my legs felt. The left thigh is still a little sore but less so.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #12 Day 4 3-Peat Win Near Area 51 (Race Recap)

Location: Rachel, NV (Extraterrestrial Highway)

Temperature: 12:30am run so it was dark and mostly cloudy with some light rain, temperature was between 65 and 68 degrees

Type of Run: Race

Length: 13.1 miles

Type of route: Gradual incline for first 6 miles of around 800 feet starting at about 4,700 feet in elevation up to about 5,500 feet then a decline of about 800 feet for the final 7 miles.

Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes, 52 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:24

Average heart rate: 159

Place: 1ST OVERALL!!!!

For the third year in a row, I won the ET Full Moon half marathon. Granted this race is on the smaller side (usually 190 to 250 runners) and is more of a novelty race than competitive, I was pleased to win again. The best part about the win is I improved my time on the course from last year by about a minute. That means progress is being made and my training for the Berlin Marathon is working. Not only was there time improvement but I felt good throughout the race and afterwards. My legs were not achy or sore during the race which allowed me to push myself on the downhill portion. My left thigh was a little sore in the beginning but there was no pain there as the race progressed which was good. Even now, while there is some pain again, it’s in the healing process.

The overall goal was not to win necessarily but to run the best time I could and gauge how I could handle a long race like a half marathon with about six weeks to the big race in Berlin. I wanted to put my body through the stress of a long race so it could prepare again for the rigors of a marathon and lock in some fitness gains from the race. A half marathon is a good way to prep for a marathon because it’s long enough to wear out your body but with a much quicker recovery than a marathon.

The race starts on the Extraterrestrial Highway. It’s a straight shot to the finish at the Little Aleinn which is an alien-themed motel.¬†Getting ¬†to the race was nearly problematic. I chose the option to ride a bus from Las Vegas. That bus started malfunctioning shortly after leaving. It had to turn around and drop us off while a new bus arrived. This delay meant that any warm up would be brief. I was a little concerned about that. ¬†I felt bad for the marathon runners because they were scheduled to start 30 minutes before the half. They would have even less warm up time.

The replacement bus made good time though we did arrive at the marathon start 15 minutes before the start of the race at 12am. That’s right–12am! It’s an overnight race. There were no delays in starting because the desolate and dark highway is still open and can only shut down briefly for the marathon start. I jumped off the bus and prepared as best I could by putting on anti-chafing spay, (a must for running a half marathon or more) tying my shoes properly, putting on my headlamp and reflective vest then doing some stretching to loosen the muscles after a 2-hour bus ride.

The marathon went off and so did the buses to take myself and others to the half marathon start seven miles ahead. We exited the buses with 15 minutes to spare before the race. I did some more stretching and did a light warm up jog. I could tell me legs felt good. That made me even more confident that I could run my best time on this course which isn’t easy for several reasons. First, the race is at altitude. That means less oxygen is getting to my blood. That means a little less energy. Times will almost always slow at elevation for runners who don’t train at that altitude or higher. Usually, I run a half marathon under 1 hour, 20 minutes but not on this course. ¬†Second, this course climbs 800 feet in elevation for the first 6 miles. That alone will slow you down. You can make up time on the downhill portion but fatigue can sometimes prevent you from maximizing the downhill to your fullest extent. Third, the race is at 12:30am and it’s dark. A person’s body is not used to running or racing at that time plus running at night is usually slower even with artificial light. It’s because you can’t see the road as clearly so your brain goes into safety mode and slows you down just a bit.

My first mile was solid at 6:14 but a bit faster than what I wanted. I was far in front of everyone else at this point so it was just me almost all alone on a dark, desert highway. (cue the Eagles..better yet don’t). Usually, in a half marathon, like a marathon, it’s best to run the first 2 to 3 miles slower than goal pace then pick up the pace. This race is a little different due to the course. The first mile is the easiest of the uphill portion. My pace slowed during the climb which was normal. I didn’t care for how much my mile splits slowed since mile five was run in 7:00 but ¬†I told myself this is how the race normally is and just keep running hard because the downhill portion would come soon.

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That’s me with the Little Aleinn ambassador. He’s quite welcoming of us as you can see by the sign.¬†

I came to the peak after mile 6 and started the descent to the Little Aleinn. The downhill portion is a welcome relief after some tough climbing at altitude. I gauged my legs at the race peak and found out they were still feeling good and strong with no obvious signs of fatigue. I increased my pace and did mile 7 in 6:18. Each mile after pretty much got better. The next miles, respectively, went like this–6:07, 6:05, 6:01, 6:01, 6:00 and 5:57. ¬†I was happy I was so consistent. ¬†I was able to do this because I pushed myself because I had a goal which was to improve my time from last year. My legs felt good and so did my breathing so I kept pushing. I was all alone and had practically already won the race so it would’ve been easy to put it in cruise control. However, I wanted to gauge my fitness and improve on my time. Those reasons motivated me to keep pushing the pace. When I saw my mile splits improving, I told myself my goal was within reach and to keep moving. Don’t slow down!

I crossed the finish line. I had bested my time from last year by about a minute and physically I felt good for just running over 13 miles hard. I wasn’t achy or exhausted like I have been after past half marathons. This is because of training, having a clear goal and having the confidence that the goal could be attained. Set your own goals for running and form a plan to execute that goal or goals then have the confidence in yourself that you can do it and have confidence your plan will work.

The race gave me confidence that a personal best of under 2:49 in Berlin is possible. I have to remain disciplined and smart and listen to my body if it does need a little rest. If I continue with my planned training schedule, I should be able to achieve my main goal in Berlin.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #12 Day 3 Pre-Race Run

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 90 degrees, 52% humidity with a 70 degree dew point (it was gross outside again)

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 3.45 miles

Type of route: mostly flat

Time: 24 minutes, 43 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:10

Average heart rate: 147

Reason for Run: This was a short pre-race run in preparation for the ET Full Moon Half Marathon¬†which is tomorrow night/morning at 12:30am. I wanted to get my legs a little bit of work before the race but not too much. I don’t them want them tired but rather loose and ready to go before the race.

 

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Destination: Rachel, NV. Home of the Little Alieinn and who knows what other humanoid-type creatures.

How did I feel? Mostly good. My left thigh is slightly better than yesterday but there still is some pain. The pain though is not enough to make the run awkward or cause me to put more weight on my right side or negatively affect my stride. Because of this, I think I can manage a full 13.1 miles tomorrow. I will stretch tonight and massage my legs to keep my muscles loose especially since my calves are a little tight now. The awful weather does make running tough. Fortunately, the race weather will be in the upper 60s to low 70s with no humidity. The temperatures are much cooler than in Las Vegas because it’s at altitude. The race starts at about 4,700 feet before climbing to a peak of about 5,500 feet before descending back down to 4,700 feet. Hopefully, no aliens, MIBs or government agents around Area 51 will abduct me during the run.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #12 Day 2 A Short Run

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Mostly sunny, 92 degrees, 46-52% humidity with a 70 degree dew point (it was gross outside again)

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 4.06 miles

Type of route: mostly flat

Time: 28 minutes, 19 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:58

Average heart rate: 155

Reason for Run: This was a short run designed to be done a few days before a big race. I kept the mileage low as part of the tapering to keep my legs fresh for the half marathon. I picked up the pace each mile and had negative splits. I increased the intensity of the run to give my body the feel again of running at a harder pace.

How did I feel? Mostly good again. My left thigh felt slightly better than yesterday but still not 100%. There was no dull pain like there was yesterday but the pain that was there was centered in a different area and was slightly sharper. The good news is there was no pain in my leg following the run or now. This gives me hope I’ll feel even better Saturday night. The weather was horrible. Not only was it hot but it was muggy. The humidity was what it has been in the past few weeks but the dew point rose above 70 degrees. When the dew point gets that high, it starts to feel muggy. The bad weather conditions are what caused my heart rate to be on the higher side of things both today and yesterday. It’s because my body can’t cool itself effectively. Had this been a normal week of running 50 to 65 miles, my pacing would be much slower and any hard run I would do would be done in the evening or early morning to avoid high temperatures.

Running With You,

Donald

Berlin Marathon Training Week #12 Day 1 A Return From Rest

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Mostly cloudy, 88 degrees, 55% humidity with a 70 degree dew point (it was just gross and disgusting outside…like a tropical jungle)

Type of Run: Easy

Length: 5.5 miles

Type of route: gradual inclines and declines with one small hill climb and one hill descent

Time: 40 minutes, 11 seconds

Pace per mile: 7:18

Average heart rate: 150

Reason for Run: This was an easy-paced run after four straight days off from running or any kind of cardio activity. I wanted to give my strained left thigh a rest. I kept the mileage low and pace easy so as not to risk further injury. Plus, I’m also tapering ahead of Saturday night’s half marathon in the desert above Las Vegas.

How did I feel? Mostly good. My left thigh is not 100% but it felt a lot better. Yes, there was still some dull pain while running but it was much less than before. Overall, the rest helped my legs. They feel more fresh. Taking time off is very difficult. Lots of thoughts go through your mind such as “Will these few days off time destroy my training?” The answer is no. But it’s hard to convince yourself of that sometimes. You get into a training groove and you want to continue. However, it’s important to listen to your body. I’m going to see how I feel tomorrow and go from there. but I do feel optimistic. I’ve been here before. I feel confident I can finish this upcoming half marathon in a solid time.

Running With You,

Donald