24 October 2010

The 52nd Atlantic City Marathon

Some time in September I got the crazy idea that I wanted to run the Atlantic City Marathon the week after the LBI 18 Mile Run. Even though LBI didn't really go as well as I would have liked I told myself if the weather forecast looked good, go for it. The first thing I did the Monday morning after LBI was get the weekly weather forecast. The second thing I did was register for the 52nd Atlantic City Marathon, the third oldest running marathon in the country. "America's First Festival of Running." Who knew?

I limped away from LBI disappointed in my performance but was confident that it wasn't my best effort. The early changes in pace as well as poor nutrition did me in yet again. Would AC offer me redemption? The plan was to go and run a PR and considering my PR was 2:59, I felt confident it could be done. I took the Monday after LBI relatively easy running just a few miles and strides in the evening to shake my legs out. I was surprised at how good I felt with no real soreness that one would expect the day after an 18 mile race. As was the case of my two previous marathon outings, I was completely wrecked right after the race but the next day I felt fine. I attributed this to poor nutrition during the race and was determined not to let that be the reason for poor performance again. With that in mind I tried to pick a few different flavor gels that I thought I could stomach on race day and opted to go with GU; strawberry banana, Roctane pineapple and tri-berry w/caffeine. Would they work on race day would be another story... Here's a look at my training the week before the marathon.

October 12, 2010
Snatch Grip Push Press 4,4,3,2,2 with 90 seconds rest between sets followed by Back Squats 3,3,2,1,1 also with 90 seconds rest between sets.

October 13, 2010
AM. WOD: 10 x 1:1, one minute on, one minute off x 10. The main focus when I do a 1:1 is form and technique. I felt like my form held together pretty well during the LBI race with no hot spot issues with my feet.
PM. WOD: 20 minute row on the C2 (no info because the computer is broken) followed up with 60 walking lunge and 60 air squats.

October 14, 2010
12 x 100 Hills Sprints with 10 squat jumps at the top of the hill after the last 6 repeats. The workout called for 30 second hill sprint but the hill I used didn't quite cut it so in order to get a little more out of the workout I decided to throw in some squat jumps to add a little more effort to the workout.

October 15, 2010
Speed development and technique work on the track, 6 x 150 with 150 walking recovery, 5 x 30 and 6 x 120. I tried to keep everything comfortably fast and focused on keeping my feet under my general center of mass.

October 16, 2010
Not your normal typical pre-race shake out. 30 Muscle Ups in 12:55. Did the first 7 unbroken and continued to do 3 - 4 unbroken until I got to 25. From 25 to 30 it was one at a time. After my muscle up WOD I did some light running with my XC team as they warmed up for their hill workout. After practice I headed over to the Power Center in Red Bank for some yoga with Lauren Brunelli

When my alarm went of at 4 a.m. I asked myself am I really going to run a marathon in a few hours?!? The answer was yes but I will admit I was a little nervous after last weeks 18 mile implosion. After a quick shower and WAWA stop I headed south for Atlantic City AKA the "City of Broken Dreams." As I drove down the parkway I reminded myself to relax, have fun and enjoy the experience. I knew if I could do those things I would walk away from a positive experience. An hour later I was rolling into AC still nervous but confident it was going to be a good day.

Packet pick was at Boardwalk Hall and when I opened my packet and saw that my race number was 7, I knew for sure it was going to be a good day to run a marathon. With my packet and shirt in hand I headed back to my car to relax and eat a little before it was time to warm up.

A little before 7 I left the parking garage to head over to the start to warm up. At the 18 miler my warm up was lacking and half-assed. I wasted time talking to friends and didn't warm up the way I knew I should have. Regardless of what pace you are running or how far you are running I still feel going through some range of motion is the key to a good performance. So, one hour before the start I started moving my body and didn't stop until 10 minutes to gun time. After some easy running on the boardwalk I found a place away from the start but near a bathroom to do my drills. As I did my drills I saw a few of my Running Works friends warming up and we wished each other good luck on the days endeavors. One thing I happened to notice as I continued to warm up and this I believe was a first for sure, was another runner smoking a cigarette. Yes I'm sure he was a runner, he had a number on. Two things instantly popped into my head when I saw this; 1. I thought I had done some crazy shit before some of my races and 2. I have to remember to put this in my blog. When it was all said on done I had put in a good hour of active movement and I felt much better about my warm up then I did the week before.

Race time had come and I was about to find out if it was really possible to run an 18 mile race and then a week later run a marathon all on less then 30 miles a week. It took me 45 seconds to get to the starting line and another mile to weave my way in and out the traffic of three races starting at once. At 5 miles I took my first GU (strawberry bananna) and surprisingly I had no problem getting it down. I also made sure that I grabbed water/Gatorade at every aide station in order to avoid the cramping issue that did me in at LBI. I rolled through 5 at sub 3 hr pace feeling relaxed and comfortable, 5 down 21 to go. Some where around 6 miles I found myself running with a gentleman who was running the half-marathon, unfortunately I neglected to catch his name. I was reluctant to strike up a conversation because I was so focused on sticking to my plan and I didn't want to be distracted or end up running faster then I wanted. After a mile of one word answers I gave in, figuring it would help pass time. We talked about the marathons that we had run, injuries, nutrition, training and coaching. At 10 miles I downed my Roctane Pineapple and again had no problems getting it down and almost instantly it seemed like I could feel it take effect. I passed the 10 mile mark still under my goal pace still feeling comfortable and relaxed but I noticed that my quads weren't feeling great. Was I coming unglued already or was I just sore from the hills and squat jumps?

At 12 miles my new running buddy pealed of to finish the Half and I pressed on southbound towards Ventnor and Margate on Atlantic Avenue. From miles 8 to the 15.5 the race ran into a head wind and around 14 it started to get a little annoying. At this point I started to talk to myself, coaching myself to stay positive and not let things I had no control over bother me. At 15, I downed another strawberry banana GU and again didn't have much of an issue getting it down. At the turn around at 15.5, I was reminded that I should have looked more closely at the course map. I can't even begin to stress how important it is to know the course you are running. I assumed that after the turn I was headed back to the boardwalk to finish and in a way I was. Just not directly. When I was directed inland it dawned on me the I still had some running left to do and heading straight back to Boardwalk Hall would have left me a few miles short of 26.2 miles.

By the time I got to 18 miles I was still feeling strong but knew a lot could go wrong if I tried to force. Although I had been doing it the entire race from 18 on I really did a lot a self coaching and I began to get tunnel vision. Not the type you get when you're about to fall out but the type you get when you're in the zone. I repeated over and over to myself "don't force", "don't chase", "keep it up", "you've got a good one going." At 20 miles I took my last gel, GU tri-berry with caffeine and I felt great. Mentally I was dialed into my mantra and physically although my quads were sore I new I wasn't about to let another one slip away. I knew I was feeling great because I was still thanking the people on the course who where telling me that I looked great. At LBI I had stopped thanking people at mile 10.

When I hit the boardwalk to head to the finish I was 11th and I had number 10 in my sights. Even though I only had a little over 3 miles to go, I still didn't want to force the issue "don't force, don't chase" I repeated over and over. Sure enough around 25 miles I moved into 10th and with a little over a mile to go the fear of blowing up no longer existed. I ran my last mile in 6:08 to finish with a chip time of 2:51.11 over and 8 minute PR on less then a weeks notice and off of less then 30 miles.

11 October 2010

Jersey Shore



The Real Jersey Shore, the One and Only LBI 18 Mile Run. October 10, 2010, the 38th Memorial and my third attempt in as many years. But, before I get in to the gory details of the race, here's what my training has looked liked since the 4th.

October 5, 2010
I headed up to CrossFit Morristown for a 6 a.m. WOD. Yup Pt. Pleasant to Morristown for a 6 a.m. workout. As crazy as it sounds I don't mind the alarm or the commute because it's a great BOX with great coaches and athletes. The original WOD called for 4 rounds of row 500, 9 ring dips, 12 shoulder to overhead Rx #135 (my weight #85), 15 box jumps. Unfortunately there are only 4 rowers and 15 athletes. Mike D, staggered us and alternatively planned to do a 400 (more like 300) run if the rowers got backed up. I started in the first wave and was 3rd off the rower. Which means I need to add that to my list of skills that needs improvement. I was also planing on not running but as it turns out after the first round I was out the garage door hammering a 300. Interesting who's on the streets in Morristown at 6 a.m. I was only able to get on a rower for the first round and I'm pretty sure a row, ring dip transition would have sucked way more. I finished in 18:38, rowing and lifts need improvement. In the afternoon I headed up to RBR to do a CF Mainsite WOD : 10 x 2 Bench Press w. 60 seconds rest. I was really sure where to start off but I know I haven't really bench pressed in a long time. So I opted on the lighter side; #115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 150, 155, 160. With a spot I'm pretty sure I could have gotten #175.

October 6, 2010
10.5 mile run with Craig Segal, ran 10 x 1 minute on w. 2 minutes recovery over the last 30 minutes. Feeling a bit run down in the afternoon I opted to bypass the afternoon strength and conditioning session.

October 7, 2010
A.M. WOD: I headed up to Morristown again and the WOD consisted of; 10 rounds for time: 10 MB clean #20, 5 HSPU (handstand push ups), 10 pistols (5 each leg). I completed the WOD in 14:33 and walked away pumped about the ease in which I did the HSPU. I also noted that I need to work more on my weakness and I added pistols to the list.

P.M. WOD : 5 x 40 : 20. This was a complete burner consisting of 40 seconds of all out sprint with 20 seconds rest. I warmed up with and easy mile of running followed up with 15 minutes worth form drills and active warm up. I finished up my warm up with 4 x 100 progressive sprints with full recovery. 5:40:20 was another WOD that appeared on paper to much easier then it actually was. Each 40 second interval I covered around 275 meters. I'm not sure if it was the wind or the workout or both but this one had my lungs burning.

October 8, 2010
Rest day : Spent some time working on the Snatch and did some easy running with the team during practice.

October 9, 2010
A.M. WOD : 7 muscle ups, 6 rounds of Cindy (5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats), 5 muscle ups, 4 rounds of Cindy, 3 muscle ups, 2 rounds of Cindy, 1 muscle up. Still a relative novice on the ring I moved through the first round of muscle ups dropping down to the ground to re grip each time. When I jumped back up on the rings a light bulb went off and I suddenly knew how to do a kip on the ring. Just like that I did 4 unbroken muscle ups and I almost got the last one too. I finished the WOD in 15:32. At practice with the team I ran 9 x 300 uphill. Probably not the best idea with an 18 mile race the next day but I figured why not. I made sure I ran at least one hill with each group or individual. After we finished practice I received some praise from the RBR Maintenance Staff. They were very impressed with how hard my team works day in, day out, rain or shine. It's moments like this, that make it all worth it and it's moments like this that reassure you that what your doing is the right thing. I had a similar feeling after I left Running Works in August.

Since I forgot to pick up my chip last year, I decided I would make the trip down to LBI to pre register so I wouldn't have to stress about it in the morning. In 2009 I signed up early, had my number but decided to bypass the t-shirt pick up to avoid the hassle at St Francis the morning of the race. As I was changing my shoes for the race my brother asked me if I had my timing chip. At that point it was to late to do anything to correct my stupidity and I ran without a chip. I ended up running a huge PR and finished 5th but the results of the 2009 race will never show that. Lesson learned, always pick up your t-shirt!

October 10, 2010
Race day was here and questions would finally be answered. How would my new training program translate to race results? The goal was to run 6:30 pace and be as comfortable as possible. Fellow MUXCTF alum Pat Dalessandro was also running as he preps for his first marathon in December. We talked a few days before and we both had a similar race plan so we agree to meet up and give it a go together. I didn't really warm up as well as I would have like and Pat was even surprised that I mentioned warming up. I usually spend the hour leading up to a race going through range of motion and form drills but only managed to squeeze in 20 minutes before the race. This was by no means my downfall.

We headed out at the start and I felt pretty comfortable and even though I was faster then I wanted to be through the early miles I still thought I was going to be able to maintain my pace the entire race. Through the early miles Pat and I clicked off splits in the low 6:20's. At some point Pat and I gained a third member of our group and this is when things took a turn for the worse for me. It started to bother me that mile after mile this guy was content to sit in and let Pat and I do all the work. Eventually I moved behind him and forced him to the front to to some work and with that he took off and Pat followed. The next mile split ended up being 5:22!?! I knew that paced had picked up but 5:22 was ridiculous. The mile mark must be off but even if it was, it wasn't that off. So, because I stopped racing myself and started racing people around me my race was completely shot and we hadn't even hit the half was mark.

At that point I realized I need to get back to my game plan which was to run 6:30's and be comfortable. I settled back into a rhythm and I tried to not think about the fact that I still had 9 miles to run. I had been taking Accelerade every 3 miles but looking back I probably needed another fuel source because somewhere around mile 13 my calfs began to severely cramp. At this point Pat and I had moved into the top 10. Unfortunately, I had started to do damage control and suggested to Pat to go for it. Pat continued on and ended up running a great race finishing in 6th. I on the other hand went in the other direction going from 7th to 11th finishing in 1:56.50. Of the 3 races I've run on LBI this was the slowest and I felt absolutely wrecked. I was flat backed for at least 10 minutes and was shoveling anything I could get my hands on into my mouth (oranges, potato chips, birch beer, gatorade) On top of it all I had to get in my car and drive to Toms River to train a client. Luckily I snapped out of it pretty quickly and by the time I arrived in Toms River I was feeling pretty good. My stomach was hurting but that was because of all the crap I ate when I finished.

The next day when I woke up I decided to enter the Atlantic City Marathon. The question many asked was why and the answers are to follow in my next update coming shortly.

03 October 2010

LBI 18 Mile Run

It's almost time to run the LBI 18 Mile run and this years build up has taken a completely different path then the previous two years. The first year, the goal was to finish and see if I'd be interested in running a marathon (I think I finished 9th in 2008). In 2009, I new a was running a marathon and used the race as a check point in my build up. I finished 5th but neglected to pick up my chip the morning of because I already had my number. My last mile was in 5:30, one minute faster than what I started at. Two days later I couldn't run without being in pain and had to take a month and a half off. All of which led to a sub par 2:59 debut 26.2. This year's build up has been filled with lots of strength training, improved nutrition, faster more intense running and more efficient running mechanics. Since June I have been adding more and more CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance programing to my training to see if my racing would improve. In june I ran a 5k in 17:30 last week I closed out a 90 minute run with Craig Segal in 5:47, 5:37, 5:31. Yesterday I ran a 2.6 mile TT and averaged 5:20. What will this all mean on Sunday October 10, 2010? Beats me, I'm still not sure if I'm going to try to go out and kill it as I may have another surprise planned for the following Sunday. Regardless I'm going to go out and enjoy it. Here's a look at what I'll been doing since the CFE certification at CrossFit Morristown There are a few days missing here and there. Some of the days missing have either been Tabata Sprints or 2 x 1200 hill runs @ Hartshorne.

September 13, 2010
A.M. WOD : 10 x 1:1 @ Boro Track, light jog, active warm up, form drills followed with 4 x 100 meter sprint w. full recovery.
P.M. Overhead Squat work. 10, 10, 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, warm up sets starting very light. 5 - 3 - 2 - 1 maxing out at 105.

September 14, 2010
10 : 30 second hill sprint w. 90 second recovery @ Hartshorne Woods w. 90 seconds recovery. Tried to run as fast as possible while maintaining proper running mechanics. Easy mile cool down, 4 x 30 walking lunge

September 15, 2010
A.M. WOD : 1:1, :45, 1:00, 1:30, 3:00, 6:00, 3:00, 1:30, 1:00, 45
P.M. S&C WOD : Every minute on the minute for 8 minutes 3 : push press. Rest 3 minutes, then every minute on the minute for 8 minutes, 5 x DB swing (no KB) #50, 5 x squat w DB, 5 clapping push ups.

September 16, 2010
A.M. WOD : 2 x 5:00 w. 2:00 rest, 5 x 1:00 w. :30 rest. Ran on the roads and had no problem with my feet. Focused on keeping my feet under my general center of mass.
P.M. S&C WOD : 5 x 5, Squat Clean #95, Bench 135

September 17, 2010
Awesome trip to the dentist for 3 fillings!!! No training

September 18, 2010
6 x 800 w. 90 seconds recovery : 2:28, 2:25, 2:26, 2:29, 2:32, 2:29 - Warm up easy mile jog, active movements, 4 x 100 meter sprint w. full recovery. Cool down easy mile.

September 19, 2010
40 minute TT

September 20, 2010
7 Rounds
7 Squat Clean Thruster #95
7 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
rest 5 minutes
12 minutes AMRAP - 6 rounds 3 Power Cleans
8 Hang Power Cleans
8 Wall Ball Shots
8 Knee to Elbow

September 24, 2010
100 Pull ups
100 Lunges
100 Burpees
100 Squats
100 Push ups
100 Sit ups
100 Double Unders

September 25, 2010
Rest Day - Six Flags!!!

September 27, 2010
WOD : CrossFit/USAW Triplet
10 Minutes AMRAP
6 x Squat Clean #80
12 x Chest to bar pull ups
24 Double Unders
5 rounds 12 pull ups

September 28, 2010
A.M. S&C WOD @ CF Morristown
7 rounds for time
14 x roll outs
5 x thruster
finished in 8 minutes give or take, didn't have my glasses on and never bothered to check the clock.

P.M. 1 :1 - 3 : 3, Covered 970 meters on each 3 minute interval.

September 29, 2010
A.M. WOD : 90 minute run in Holmdel closed the last three miles in 5:47, 5:37.5:31
P.M. Oly seminar @ CF Morristown. First ever Snatch with weight! Also, spent most of the day in the dentist chair having my implants put in finally!

September 30, 2010
2 x 1200 hill run with full recovery @ Hartshorne Woods. Mouth was sore from yesterday's 4 hour dentist ordeal but at least I can smile now!

October 1, 2010
5 x 2 Shoulder Press w. 2:00 rest
5 x 3 Front Squat w. 2:00 rest

10 Rounds for time
Dead Lift #135 x 15
Push ups/hands up x 15

October 2, 2010
A.M. WOD: Muscle up and Double Under practice. Double Unders are harder with RX Rope.
P.M. WOD 1:1 - 12 x 1:00 w. 1:00 rest @ Holmdel Park, felt good running fast on the hills.

October 4, 2010
A.M. WOD : 4 x 5 minutes w. 3 minutes rest in the wind and rain. Felt pretty good considering the conditions. I hate running in the rain.

P.M. WOD: Tried to complete the Rx CFE WOD but after 5 x 15 knees to elbows w. :20 rest the 5 x 20 chest to bar pull ups was all but impossible. Bagged the pull ups rested a bit then did 5 x 25 med ball slams w. :20 rest. I almost knocked out my new grill when I grabbed the wrong MB to slam and took the first slam in the face.