Marathon Training...week 1 and weigh-in

Because I was off riding my bike around Grandmas marathon last week this week was my first week of training for Twin Cities Marathon. I should have a decent base, I ran a half marathon at the beginning of June but I don't really feel like I do. How fast do you lose your cardio endurance? I guess I didn't run much the week leading up to the half marathon due to my knee issues and i haven't run more than 12 miles in the last two week because I was trying to rest the knee and get some use out of my bike. Today I ran 10.5 miles which is about a third of my total mileage over the past month. I would estimate that I've only ran about 30 miles since the week leading up to the half, no wonder I don't feel like I have any endurance. My knee held up great, it is a little sore but nothing a couple IBU and some ice won't take care of. My legs feel great, they were barely fatigued at the end. But my endurance problems seemed to be with my breathing, it was very labored right from the start.

Steph and I weighed in and measured up for our weight loss challenge. I'll post the specifics later.

Weekly weigh-in:
Week 1...244
Week 2...242


QUICK Sherpa Report and Weigh In

I spent Saturday riding up and down the Grandma’s marathon course. Three of my friends; Steve, Pharmie and Steph were running the full marathon. The day started at 4:45 am, with a couple cereal bars and a bunch of water. I lathered myself with sunscreen and threw on some biking gear. It was actually pretty chilly in the morning for a ride (~45 degrees) so I also threw on a track jacket.

I went with the three of them to the spot where the bus picks them up, took a few pics and started my 26 mile bike to the starting line. The ride went pretty fast, I had to stop for a Cliff bar on the way…I was getting SUPER hungry. When I got to the start I had no idea where to look for them. I just found a high spot and started looking around. I was just giving up on finding them when Steve found me…notice that I am just taking random photos and Steve is running into the picture.

We took a few more pics, here is Steph and I at the start...

Steve, Pharmie and Steph...

I said my good-bye and good luck to them and started biking my way down the course a little…but not before I caught Pharmie making one last ‘potty’ stop.

I spent the next 5 hours doing some time trialin’ along the course. I rode fast to the next access street between the express highway and the scenic highway (the marathon course). At each access road I set the bike down, got some of the three runner’s nutrition out so I could easily hand it to them and busted out the camera to take some awesome photos.

The worst part of the day, after all the marathon fun was over, I had to ride back to the dorms we were staying at. Look at the elevation chart below…it was a CLIMB!

Did I mention I was down poured on? The whole marathon was hot and sunny, then when I was waiting to meet up with the runners by the runner pick up area later it rained for a few min and again, even harder, on my ride home…not once while I ( and all the runners ) was baking during the heat of the marathon.

We were all a little sore, Steph was worse than the rest of us. We all showered up and grabbed dinner. Then Steph and I went down to Canal Park (the finish area) to walk around. Sunday morning we hit up this awesome breakfast buffet!

There was...
  • French toast
  • sausage
  • eggs Benedict
  • bacon
  • potatoes
  • mashed potatoes
  • RIBS
  • rotisserie chicken
  • butternut bread
  • pumpkin bread
  • muffins

  • I’m pretty sure that didn’t help the weight loss…oh well, it was worth it.

    WEIGH IN: 244…down 1 pound.

    P.S. Steph and I are going to take my weight loss goal up a notch; we’re going to have a contest. The details aren’t set in stone yet. Probably percent of body weight lost and inches lost, neither of us really want to buy a body fat caliper to get really accurate.

    I need good wager ideas and dinner ideas/menu ideas for a busy guy. I think I eat pretty well most of the day, the evening/dinner time is where I usually have a larger meal and then snack. The snacking is easy to fix, but I need meals that are healthy and will fill me up after working out. Any suggestions?


    Mock duathlon (AKA Brick workout) Leads to PAIN!

    All day Wednesday I was super excited for this"mock duathlon" as my cycling instructor at lifetime was calling it. She prepared two cycling routes and two run routes, you could mix and match them as you please. The bike routes were 22 miles and 15 miles, the run routes were a 5K and a 10K. We all signed up at Lifetime for what our distances were going to be…I picked the 22 mile bike and the 10K run. Only five other people (out of about 35) signed up for this ‘long course’.

    We eventually got started about 15 min late because everyone needed the routes repeated like ten times over. That seriously got annoying, I came with the routes printed out and laminated ( I know I’m a geek, but I wasn’t getting lost)…plus they are sweat proof then!

    I jumped on the back wheel of some “A” group riders. Our normal Wednesday cycling group has an A, B and C group. I was keeping up fine, drafting off the lead cycling instructor and a few others with MACHO STELLAR looking legs. For the first few miles I was breathing pretty heavy, but finally settled into a comfortable breathing pattern. Mile 5…we climbed a decent hill and I was WAY winded and falling back a little. I remember my cycle instructor’s teachings and spent 15-20 seconds out of the saddle pushing hard, 15-20 seconds in the saddle, 15-20 seconds out of the saddles sprinting and I was back in line eating wheel.

    About mile 11 we hit a HUGE hill, I always get bogged down there on our normal weekly rides. This day, CRAMP! A shooting pain went through my left calf and it was locked up. I tried to stretch it out on the bike but it just wasn’t having it. I stopped at the top of the hill to stretch out and I was officially dropped from the A group. My calf cramped up the rest of the bike on and off. When it hit me the rest of the ride I was able to stretch it out on the bike though. I never saw another rider the rest of the ride. I was far behind the A group and far ahead of the B group. Lets just say that was a lonely 11 miles back, but good training for a real event. Out on my own, pushing myself on the bike…which doesn’t happen very often. I usually need someone with me to push me on the bike, I’m just not used to working hard on the bike…seeing as this is probably only my 15th time on a road bike.

    I ended the bike, in 1:09:25, a 19.02mph average! That is great for me! Especially considering I had a few stops in there to stretch and my bike computer keeps counting for like 30 seconds until it goes into snooze mode. I then had the longest transition ever!

    Here are my ten steps to a perfect parking lot transition.
    Step 1:
    Drink water
    Step2: Open car trunk
    Step3:Take front tire off of bike
    Step4: Put bike in trunk
    Step5: change into run top
    Step6: Take off bike shorts and put on run shorts
    Step7: Put on run shoes
    Step8: Grab ipod
    Step9: Grab shot blocks
    Step10: Close up car

    This ten step process took me 5min and 46 seconds. LONGEST TRANSITION EVER!

    I started on the run with two other people, 1 guy who is running Grandma’s Marathon this weekend and another woman that usually drafts off me when I ride with the B group on Wednesdays. She says that she likes it because I push the pace and I’m a larger guy so I block a lot of wind.

    By 0.5 miles, yes, 0.5 miles I was cramping up. I stopped, stretched ate a couple shot blocks and was back on my way. I didn’t know my distances around this area but I could guess them because I was semi familiar with the area. I think I was running about a 9:30 pace until roughly mile 2.5….HOLD FOR SUSPENSE!



    Then I turned my head to the left and puked up the GU from mile 15 of the bike and the shot blocks I just ate. I was low on sodium, low on water…crap that sucked! I eventually got back on my way, A LOT slower though. I now had the taste of puke in my mouth. I couldn’t stand it, I looked for a house where it looked like no one was home and ducked into their yard to steal water from their hose. The rest of the run was SUPER hilly, there weren’t a ton of big hills…just constant hills (See below).

    At 1:10:24 I came into the parking lot for my glorious finish. I then collapsed on the sidewalk trying to cool myself down and catch my breath. Sara, a girl that cycles every Wednesday with the group came down and asked if I was ok. I said, yea…I’ll be fine in a min or two. I picked myself up, grabbed my cooler and headed toward the picnic shelter…TIME TO GRILL!

    One day later…I feel fine except for that stupid reoccurring knee pain. I need to get this knee figured out, I’m in week 1 of marathon training…what the hell am I going to be like during week 12 or 16?

    On a happier note, I have three friends running Grandma’s marathon his weekend. I’m bringing my bike up there to play ‘sherpa’ and carry some food, gels, etc for them. Steve is looking for sub 3:10 (Boston qualifying), I don’t know what Pharmie’s time goal is and I think Steph just wants to finish(she has had a horrific training …all of her long runs have went bad).


    My Goals

    My very first post listed some goals for 2008...I recently took a look back at them to see how I was doing. NOT SOO GOOD! I'm half way through the year and I'm farther away from my goals than in March.
    My 2008 goals...

    • Lose weight
    • Run a sub 24 min 5K
    • Run a sub 2 hour half marathon
    • Run a marathon (not from original post)

    • Weight: 245 (up 5 pounds)
    • 5k: 24:44 (44 seconds off my goal)
    • Half marathon: 2:09:51 (9:51 off the goal)

    I think I'm going to have to revise my goals and get back on track.

    Revised Goals...
    • Weight: Lose 20 pounds. I'm going to weigh in weekly.
    • 5k: 24:00. I'm going to do speed work and plyometrics at least twice a week.
    • Half marathon: 2:05:00. I'm going to rely on the combination of speed work and long runs in the marathon training.
    • Marathon: To Finish.TRAINING STARTS TODAY


    Cause and effect

    Sunday was my first 50 mile bike ride. I was a little tentative to agree to ride to the end of the Gateway trail and back. Prior to Sunday I had never gone more than 30 miles in a day, let alone 50 all at once. Sunday turned out to be a great riding day. It was partly cloudy, in the upper 70’s and a slight breeze. Matt (Steph’s brother) showed up around 10:30, I was still filling up my water bottles, grabbing my shoes and sunglasses. Eventually we got rolling, no pun intended. We were going strong, Matt a little stronger than me. I’d spent the entire week biking, to rest the knee from all the pounding it takes running, so my legs were a little fatigued…I’m not used to riding 4 or 5 days out of the last 7. Plus, when Matt is in aero and decides to take off I have to give it everything I have to try and keep up. A few times I just fell in his draft and ‘sucked some wheel’.

    Cause: Mother Nature conjured up a good storm.

    Effect: The ground gets wet, leaves and branches fall to the ground.

    We had some good storms the day before, this left the trail full of leaves, twigs and water. Sucking wheel left me a little dirty! (Picture to come). Part of the trail was under construction in North St. Paul, Matt thought he knew how to get around the short cut so I just followed him. We didn’t follow the signs but eventually cut back to the trail about 20 feet before we were supposed to.

    Cause: Riding through mud.

    Effect: Back tire slips.

    We road through about 20 feet of mud and puddles and were back on the blacktop. I was very happy when I hit the blacktop with both wheels…my back tire spun a time or two…I almost ate mud the second time.
    I had never been on the Gateway Trail before, it was pretty nice. I only have two complaints…

    1. The long drawn out uphill stretches. You know the ones where you are gasping for breath at the top and you legs have that deep leg burn (at least after a few of them).

    2. All the cross streets you have to slow down at. Matt and I had a really good average going ( at least for me ), we did 17.1 on the way out. I reset my cycle computer to clock the way back, we were pushing pretty hard for a while and our average was around 19.6. When we hit all the roads where we had to slow down or stop for traffic the average dropped to the mid 17 range. When I finally made it home my average was 16.9…the last few miles were brutal. Stop lights every 6 blocks and Matt turned off 3 miles before the end because he lived right there.

    Cause: Expelled a ton of calories riding and gave away my second pack of shot blocks.

    Effect: Very hungry during the last 15 miles and an almost sick feeling afterwards because I was so hungry.

    Matt and I hit the turnaround and jumped off our bikes for some water and food. Matt had a hammer gel and I had two packs of shot blocks. Matt had never had them so I threw him 1 pack to try, I ate the other. I didn’t even think about not having enough energy to get back, we talked about DQ, Burger King and Subway half the way up after we passed the three restaurants in short succession of each other. Well, by the time we were back in town riding past these eating establishments neither or myself wanted to eat. We both thought we would just get bogged down and not be able to make it back. After we were off the trail, back in St. Paul, we hit up an SA gas station for an electrolyte filled beverage to sustain us the last 5-7 miles.

    Cause: Rode 50 miles on a bicycle.

    Effect: Very sore and tired legs.

    To Recap: I went for a 50 mile bike ride on a nice day. I got very dirty, head to toe…I think the bike was worse. I took my road bike off road through the mud. I didn’t eat enough food to last a 3 hour workout. I finished 50 miles with roughly a 17 average. My legs were tired and sore…IT WAS A GREAT DAY!


    Half Marathon Race Report

    Thursday evening I got a phone call from an old college buddy, he said he was going to be in town this weekend and that we should 'do it up old school style'...that means lots of drinking games and bars all night. I just thought great, now what do I do? Do I go out with some old college buddies or do I run the half marathon? I decided to do both. :-)

    Saturday we had a few drinks at dinner, played a few drinking games at my place and when we went to the bar around 10 I stopped drinking. I drank tons of water at the bars, the bartenders were getting annoyed with this guy drinking glass after glass of water. We left the bars around 1:15/1:30 and I grabbed a few G2's on the way home. Slammed 1 before bed. Sunday morning I got up around 5:30 and started the morning with a few big glasses of water and a bowl of oatmeal. I iced my knee for a few min and was out the door around 6:30. I got to The Depot (the race expo site) and was able to park in their ramp for $4...why not. The start was a few blocks away and the finish was just one block over form The Depot. At the expo I was super excited when I found a MASSIVE box full of shot blocks. It was about 20 min before the start and i was already starting to feel the oatmeal wear off and my 1 pack of gel wasn't going to be enough. I grabbed a package of shot blocks and headed for the start.

    I had tons of butterflies in my stomach at the start. I wasn't sure how the boozing the day before and knee would endure the 13.1 miles to come. I heard the gun and the 'heard' started moving forward. For the first 3 miles I burped some whiskey shots from the night before. I easily settled into a nice pace. Mile 5 soon rolled around and just thought...I'm gonna be ok. My knee is holding up, I don't feel dehydrated. I motored up a HUGE STEEP hill and saw a water station in the distance. I ripped the shot blocks open with my teeth and grabbed a cup of water from a nice volunteer. I ate half the pack and continued on my way. After 50 min of running I was starting to feel the sun get hotter.

    Miles 5 - 9 were mentally tougher, I'm not used to running the same location over and over in a race. This course was made up of multiple loops (see previous post for picture), which meant I ran across the same bridge twice between miles 5 and 9. This was also the hottest part of the course. Most of it was blocked by buildings or had fresh blacktop or concrete bouncing the warm sun back at you. At about mile 9.5 I tore open the gel and grabbed some more water. Mile ten brought a good feeling for me...a very realistic feeling that this half marathon was in the bag. I checked my watch at pretty much every mile marker, I knew I was right on my 10 min/mile pace. It was slower than I was hoping for originally but after the knee incident and not running more than 3 miles ( 2 separate occasions ) over the past 2 weeks I was happy.

    Mile 11 brought a new mental first signs of knee pain. You know when you've had an injury and it starts to hurt a little your mind jumps back there. Well I think my mind jumped back there and made it seem worse than it was. I pushed through it and tried to attract my attention to anything other than my knee. Through the first few miles of the race I kept looking around at the people and setting and thought this was a really nice place for a race. Until mile 11 and attempting to get my mind off of my knee I had completely disregarded that this race was in a great place with beautiful weather.

    The last two miles were harder on my mind than legs. I eventually reached that HUGE STEEP hill...again...and made my way up it. I slowed my place at the top to catch my breath and made my way to the finish. I crossed the finish line at 2:11:19 (unofficial clock time). According to my watch I finished at 2:09:51.

    To recap, I feel like I had a GREAT race considering all the events of the past few weeks. I made the most of my weekend by hanging out with my old college buddy and finished the half marathon.


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