Eugene Oregon, Manmouth Lakes California, and Flagstaff Arizona. The epicenters of Elite and Professional runners in the USA and from around the world.
I’m here for the next 9 days to get my fill on EPO at 7,000’ and develop additional Red Blood Cells 16 days before the Virtual Wineglass Marathon. In all seriousness, this is my first real holiday of the year with Ironman Ireland and Ironman St. George cancelled. In fact, this week was the week I was supposed to toe the line to my 16th IRONMAN, or 17th if Ireland went ahead. Like many, I had great goals for the year but I had to evolve.
Of course, there is a silver lining to all of it. Seeing Dr. Minor at SPACC in Tucson and Sam Rauchwarter at BodyCentral for the last 2-3 months, an MRI (weirdest thing ever) finally revealed the pain in my neck, traps, lats, and referring pain through my tricep that truly emerged after I climbed Mt. Graham. Turns out I have 2 bulging discs into my spinal cord in the Cervical Spine at T3/T4 and T6/T7. “The worst I’ve seen in 7 years of doing this”, according to the Doc (a 2x Boston Marathon finisher and impressive sub-10 Ironman athlete). The nerve pain resulted directly from this, brought on by 15 IRONMANs in 8 years of triathlon training in an aggressive bike position with little attention to mobility.
As soon as IMSG was cancelled, I stopped cycling. That was July 15th, more than 9 weeks ago. I also haven’t swam since June 28th mostly due to the fact that our 25meter pool at Rancho Sahuarita, Sahuarita Arizona has been out of commission for nearly a year and a half because it started sinking into the desert sands, for the 2nd time. I also can’t be bothered with making reservations due to COVID. Ultimately, I don’t really care because this year my goal was always going “SUB3”, that is breaking 3:00:00 for the marathon. To do so I will require running 26.2miles at 6:51/mile.
My journey to SUB3 (the goal for the last 12 years) really resulted after the last full week of running I had off which was 15 months ago after competing in IRONMAN Cairns, Australia. I had already qualified for the IRONMAN World Championship with my 9:34 and 2nd A/G at IRONMAN Arizona and I took off as I spent time with some of the most important people to me in the world: Fiona, Duncan, Chelsea, Karen, Jock, Mum, Dad, Jennifer. But I came back to the USA, training for Kona, peaking at 43run miles per week. After my 2nd attempt, I broke 4hours with a 3:56. I kept running, and 7 weeks later I ran 4 weeks of 50+miles with a 1:33 half during the 3rd week. We went on a cruise, and I got terribly sick at New Years but ran 12miles that week leading up to my sickness. So I worked back into it peaking at 61 miles and a 1:29half that week. Weekly miles jumped around down to 33 as motivation was lost and I found myself in Lake Havasu during a trump rally, a very terrible place. But since Memorial Day, when those POS fuckers sent Arizona into the hotspot of COVID in the world, I have been consistent peaking at 63miles last week. And today, before driving the RV up to Flagstaff with furchildren Roxy and Sydney, I did a 10mile Tempo at 6:55/mile inside of a half marathon at 1:35:48. It was only 2 weeks ago that I ran outside for the first time since that terrible Memorial Day experience. As a result of running hills in Patagonia where Professional Triathletes Eric Lagerstrom, Paula Findlay, and Heather Jackson were training in April, my legs were trashed for a week.
For the last 2 months I’ve worked overtime and supported some large proposals at work. At times I have moved workouts around; I did that twice this week. But it has worked and it has led me to a strong consistent approach using the Hansons Marathon Method advanced plan. With 2 key workouts left before my race on October 4th including 6x1Mile inside of 11m and 10M Tempo inside of a Half Marathon, I will need to see what pacing I’m capable of at altitude. But I will be making sure to complete the full 55miles this week.
This year I have ran 1,816 miles which is 2,536 miles for the year. I am so excited to be on a path to hit this level and consider this the definitive base I need to carry me into next years IRONMAN Couer d’Alene and IRONMAN Ireland. Hopefully, I will finally be able to run in the 3:20’s again and maybe even better. With this type of performance, I hope to be fortunate enough to qualify for Kona again.
As a self-coached athlete, using nothing more than books from Hanson to Friel, I truly believe that to be a runner, one must run, a lot. Next year, I will continue to utilize Hansons and hope to balance quality bike sessions and get back to consistent swim form. Training for my next three marathons (October – Wineglass), (December – Tucson), and (February-Mesa) I hope to have an incredible base built on speed and quality to prepare me for some great 2021 performances.
In my 18,864 miles run as an athlete, I have finished 4 Ultra Marathons (45K, 2x50K, 1x50Mile), 15 IRONMANs, and 21 Marathons but I’ve only gone sub 3:10 3 times. My Personal Best is a 3:02:34 (3/43) in Alice Springs Australia 5 years ago in 2015 – I have never understood how I accomplished what I did on that day. Ten years ago at the Green Mountain Marathon on an island in Lake Champlain Vermont, USA in 3:06:15 (17/416). My 3rd marathon and first Boston Marathon BQ attempt 3:08:50 (41/783). Let me add, I found these results through Marathonguide.com which has been a resource of mine for more than a decade. I can not believe that Alice Springs was actually in these results! OMG!
If I can take one thing forward from my top 3 performances it would be one thing: COLD. Today’s run was 5 BPM lower than 8 days ago; and faster! It was 67F vs 76F. In 16 days, I am going to have the A/C going all night long brining the temperature of our 2nd training room down to 50F. Success comes with low HR. Keep the HR low, and the speed will be there. Go out in the low 6:40’s and maintain. I am going to carbo-load for 2 days, wake up at 5AM on Race Day for a 7:30AM start. I will run 26.3miles on my treadmill to account for the time it takes to get up to speed at the start. I think I can do this. I know I have it in me. (A) Goal: Sub 3, (B) Goal: Sub 3:02:34, (C) Goal: Sub 3:05
Of course, there will be an asterisk. If it’s not in a race, then it’s not official. I will have 2 official chances for that!!!
Stay tuned, 16 days to go!