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No Longer a Fool

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No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:09 pm

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” ~Abraham Lincoln.

Growing up in a family of lawyers I have always been familiar with Lincoln’s oft-quoted saying. Even if I hadn’t been, three years of law school and five years of practice have ingrained it into my psyche.

I always denied, however, that it applied to my life as a runner. “Why do I need a coach? I’ve read all of the books. I know my body best.” And there is some truth in those statements. After all, I did coach myself from a 3:28 clueless wide receiver to a 1:11 half and 2:34 marathoner. I’ve always taken pride in that. At least to some extent, I cracked the puzzle of being a successful distance runner, transforming myself from a meat-head football player to a scrawny 100 mile per week runner that has been fortunate to win a few races.

But recently I’ve also accepted I can only take myself so far. The last two years have not brought forth many PRs – at any distance. During that time I suffered my only injury to date and often times found myself falling into the same patterns and pitfalls in training. Brad Hudson warns that repeating identical training cycles, no matter how well it worked the last time around, can lead to stagnation. After spending a year trying to do just that, I can admit I should have heeded his warnings.

That brings me to this year’s Chicago Marathon. For what will be my 18th training cycle, I will be coached by Jim Akita, the head men’s cross-country and track coach for Elmhurst College. I know Jim well as a Fleet Feet teammate; his running resume is more impressive than I could ever dream mine could be. Though in different sports, we share having competed in the CCIW, as he racked up numerous honors running for the school he now coaches.

I am equal parts excited and nervous. I am excited to turn my brain off and outsource the finer details of peaking for a marathon to someone with extensive experience and knowledge. I am excited to try something new. I am nervous because I don’t want to fail my new coach given how long it’s been since I’ve seen successful race results. The good news? It’s no longer my job to figure out why.

No matter how much faith I have in Jim, I will also be honest in admitting that turning over the reins to someone else is going to be difficult. When I received my schedule for the first two weeks, my first instinct was to pile on more mileage and change things around to my liking. I had to slap myself on the wrist. If I’m going to do this, I am going to fully commit to it. He’s in charge; I run what I’m told.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:12 pm

A sound plan to me having been there/done that and with half the talent. I expect you to be a good student and make sure you work with your coach. smart move, Dave-O, and I look forward to reading about your success.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Mark B on Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:26 pm

Never a fool, Dave. But your situation brings to mind another old saying that I've seen proven true time and time again: "Two heads are better than one."

Congrats on taking this big step. I can't wait to see where it leads you.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Chris M on Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:55 pm

This right here sums up why hiring YOU as my coach helped me cut 25 minutes off of my half marathon time.....

"It’s no longer my job to figure out why. He’s in charge; I run what I’m told."

It is hugely liberating to have the focus for a runner simply to be on running what is put in front of you. Not wondering about or needing to think about what the best way is to prepare to race, not having to spend non-running hours designing and tweaking a plan. Instead of "see ball, hit ball" it is "get plan, run plan" I'm very confident this will work out well for you. Get excited about your training this Summer and remember to have fun with it too. I'm really looking forward to see where this takes you.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  ounce on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:19 am

So did you pick him because he was going to take you out of your comfort zone of the past few years or because you think he'll just take your model and enhance it a bit?

How does his style or method differ from yours?
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Jerry on Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:58 am

You must empty your glass so that your master can pour his in.

Look forward to a break through performance in Chicago marathon.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  fostever on Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:08 pm

Yeah, pile on more mileage, good idea, NOT!
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Kenny B. on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:05 pm

I can't, he can, so let him. Works well when applied. Enjoy the ride!
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:12 pm

Week 1 of Chicago Training: June 18 –24

Monday: 10 miles – 1:05:33, 6:33 pace. 70 miles?! With no doubles?!?! THE HORROR! I almost panicked when I saw my first week of training. Then, I realized I hadn’t run 10 miles in almost two months. Maybe my coach is right, I need to calm down and build my mileage more gradually. As for the run, it went better than expected. The 6:30 pace came naturally, and though I was fatiguing near the end, it felt about right for the first day back.

Tuesday: 8 miles – 57:24, 7:10 pace. I knocked out this run during lunch. It was 95 degrees. I mean, I feel somewhat acclimated to the heat after my vacation in Aruba, but if it stays this hot, it may be a long summer.

Wednesday: 12 miles – 1:19:46, 6:39 pace. I know its cliché to say I can just flip a switch once “real” training starts, but it sure feels that way. After not running a long run since my spring halves, I knocked out 12 miles tonight without a problem at all. Everything just seems different when I’m officially training for a race. And that, folks, is why I can never just run for the sake of running. I need a carrot dangling in my face

Thursday: 8 miles – 57:04, 7:08 pace. Same routine as Tuesday. It makes for almost a two hour lunch after showering and grabbing a sandwich, but it’s an awesome break to the day.

Friday: 10 miles – 1:05:13, 6:31 pace. Thinking about the 10k Olympic Trials is great motivation to knock out a steady 10 miles at the end of the week. Today’s 10 was a little bit of a progression run, with the pace dropping to the 6:10-6:15 range for the last two miles. I can feel myself getting back into a routine with every passing day.

Saturday: 14 miles – 1:134:13, 6:44 pace. The one good thing about this week’s schedule is that a 14 mile long run coincides perfectly with a loop around Lake Delavan. Britt and I got to the condo late Friday night, went right to bed, and I popped up early for a run. As much as I love living in Chicago, it’s great to get out of the city on the weekend and do my long run on quiet, gently hilly, country roads. And I can think of no better way to recover from a long run than relaxing on a pontoon boat.

Sunday: 8 miles – 57:54, 7:14 pace. After a few more hours on the pontoon and a cousin’s graduation party, I didn’t log this one until 9:00 pm. Not a problem, as I’ve always been a fan of Sunday night runs. Week 1 is in the books, and I can definitely say I felt stronger at the end than in the beginning.

Week: 70
YTD: 1,824

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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave P on Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:43 am

Exciting new journey Dave - as always, I wish you the best!
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:31 pm

@Dave P wrote:Exciting new journey Dave - as always, I wish you the best!

Thanks, Dave. At least my running is going much better than staying updated on this blog...
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:45 pm

Week 2 of Chicago Training: June 24 – July 1

Monday: 10 miles – 1:04:19, 6:26 pace. This week is going to look almost identical to last. Like I said, the mileage and intensity build up is going to be gradual – so much so that I can’t even set an over/under line on the number of times I’ve uttered “patience” to myself. I will say, though, that the frequent 10 and 12 mile runs have improved my aerobic fitness quite quickly.

Tuesday: 8 miles – 57:54, 7:14 pace. When the Cubs win the World Series in 2017, I will be able to say I attended Anthony Rizzo’s first game as a Cub. Two positions down, seven more to fill!

Wednesday: 9 miles – 56:54, 6:19 pace, with 4 x 3:00 fartlek. Hey look! A workout! Sure, it was just 4 x 3:00, with 90 second intervals, but it was enough to get the legs moving. My pace for the “on” portions was between 5:40 and 5:55 and for the “off” portions was about 6:30. And since it was a pretty tame workout, my three cool down miles were all under 6:20. Solid run.

Thursday: 12 miles – 1:23:06, 6:55 pace. When I left my office at 4:15 (don’t tell my bosses), it was exactly 100 degrees with a heat index of 107. I was honestly worried about finishing the full 12 miles. To curb an epic meltdown, I made sure to stay as close to 7:00 pace – about 30 seconds slower than I have been running – as possible. When I made it to mile 6 still in one piece, I assumed I was safe. At mile 9 I stopped into the Fleet Feet store for a brief stint in the air-conditioning and down two cups of Nuun electrolyte drink. That’s all I needed to finish strong, though it took my body about a half hour to finally stop sweating.

Friday: 10 miles – 1:11:08, 7:07 pace. I did this run on an abandoned El track in my neighborhood, which the city has been promising for years will be paved and turned into an actual running path. Until then, I am forced to scale a wall to access the dirt path, and then dodge the broken glass and homeless scattered on the trail.

Saturday: 14 miles – 1:38:43, 7:03 pace. I met Greg this morning at Waterfall Glen, for what was supposed to be an easy 14 miler. Naturally, I blew up. The humidity was pretty tough, and coupled with the lack of water, I became lightheaded and needed a few walk breaks in the last few miles. I have no idea how Greg runs so well with so little hydration. But it’s clear to me that if I want to run at Waterfall Glen, or any other trail, I may need to invest in a fuel belt of some sort.

Sunday: 8 miles – untimed. I crammed this easy run before my first round of golf on the year. Before I took up running, I used to golf frequently over the summers, but it’s tough to fit 18 and a long run into a weekend. The round went better than expected – shot a 98 – and it reinvigorated me to start playing more often. Especially until my coach lets me run doubles again!

Week: 71
YTD: 1,824

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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:53 pm

Week 3 of Chicago Training: July 2 – 8

Monday: 12 miles – 1:16:47, 6:24 pace. After two 70 miles weeks, I bump up to 80 in week 3, still in all singles. This type of training is different from what I’m used to – which is a good thing – as there are more 10-12 mile runs. It’s working so far because my pace on these runs has continually dropped over the first three weeks.

Tuesday: 10 miles – 1:07:04 – 6:42 pace. The thing about running all singles is that there aren’t really any easy days. I don’t feel like I need any without workouts in the mix, but it will be interesting to see where this goes in the next few weeks.

Wednesday: 10 miles – 1:09:54, 6:59 pace. Britt and I left for Wisconsin this morning for a mini 5 day vacation (even though I’ll have to work remotely Thursday and Friday). On the way to Lake Delavan, we pass through Lake Geneva. To get my run done, I had her drop me off 10 miles from our condo along Highway 50. It was a great idea in principle, and would have worked great had it not been 100 degrees out. The 16 ounce bottle of water in hand didn’t cut it. I made two pit stops in gas stations to refill. Even still, I barely finished the 10 miles and was completely defeated by the heat.

Thursday: 8 miles – 57:46, 7:13 pace. 4 miles – 29:32, 7:23 pace. I cheated. Today’s 12 miles was not supposed to be a double. I simply couldn’t take the oppressive heat and humidity any more. Our condo association in Lake Delavan has a modest fitness center, but surprisingly, a decent treadmill. Thanks to the treadmill and running the other 4 at 9:00 pm, today actually served as a recovery day.

Friday: 16 miles – 1:44:51, 6:33 pace. The forecast called for 104 degrees; I didn’t even bother looking at the heat index. At 7:00 am, it was already 91. The decision to log this run on the treadmill couldn’t have been simpler, and I cannot explain how much easier it was to run in 72 degrees with a huge fan blowing on my face. The run was essentially a consistent progression, starting at 7:30 pace and ending at 6:00 pace. The last 4 miles were all sub-6:15, and for the first time since I started training, I really felt “fit” again.

Saturday: 8 miles – 57:40, 7:12 pace. I had a 12 person golf outing this morning with college buddies. Translation: Early beers. I shot even better than last week with a 90 and won the longest drive competition (thanks Dad for the new driver!). Anyway, after the round, we planned to meet in Lake Geneva for dinner and bar hopping. On the way, I got dropped off 8 miles from my buddy’s place to run the rest of the way – so the reverse route of Wednesday.

Sunday: 12 miles – 1:19:10, 6:36 pace. Tonight was the first time in these three weeks where I really had to force myself out to run. I wanted no part of it. I don’t expect every run to be roses, so that’s fine, and given the tough conditions all week, I was pleased to hit 80 miles. Even better, 6:30 pace is feeling easier by the day.

Week: 80
YTD: 1975

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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Julie on Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:46 pm

The heat and humidity have been really tough. I hope things cool down for you soon. We are getting some relief this week.

I have a water bottle that I freeze about 1/3 the night before which keeps the water cool for about an hour. I fill up at gas stations too if I'm going longer, and they usually don't mind. It's just tough for almost everyone in this weather. I am guessing it will make fall marathons seem easier but it's tough getting out there, for sure.

It looks like your training is going really well! I'll quit grumbling about my 12 mile mid-week run in the morning now. Very Happy
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Kenny B. on Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:08 am

Looks like you had a good week of running smart move on the TM in that heat!
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Jerry on Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:13 am

I am on my way for my third 40 miles week. From here, when you add 10 miles, I will. Very Happy
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  JohnP on Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:03 pm

I wonder how long the new condo's TM will hold up to the workout and sweat you will place on it, I doubt it's been used to that extent at all.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Diego on Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:47 pm

Dave-O,

I will be following your training quite closely. I can't believe it was 3 summers ago now, but my recipe for success was four 12 mile runs each week(2 progessive), a long run(18-22), two 1 hour recovery runs(MP plus 2 minutes) and two lunch runs(one with high intensity intervals and one in the heat and humidity of TN) after my morning 12 mile progressive runs.

I think that running doubles twice a week, making a hard day even harder thanks to the intensity of the second runs, worked miracles. I will be interested to see what happens in a month or so to see how your coach adds in doubles.

I bet that you are on the right course for the marathon.

I'm really sorry about the Cubbies. I hope that their farm system is good(call everyone up now!!!). I noticed that they have had a few young stars having all star years. Why not take a chance on some other new blood?
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:57 am

@Julie wrote:The heat and humidity have been really tough. I hope things cool down for you soon. We are getting some relief this week.

I have a water bottle that I freeze about 1/3 the night before which keeps the water cool for about an hour. I fill up at gas stations too if I'm going longer, and they usually don't mind. It's just tough for almost everyone in this weather. I am guessing it will make fall marathons seem easier but it's tough getting out there, for sure.

It looks like your training is going really well! I'll quit grumbling about my 12 mile mid-week run in the morning now. Very Happy

The cooler temps (I guess 80 is "cool" relative to last week) is definitely helping.

@Kenny B. wrote:Looks like you had a good week of running smart move on the TM in that heat!

Thanks Kenny.

@Jerry wrote:I am on my way for my third 40 miles week. From here, when you add 10 miles, I will. Very Happy

Deal!

@JohnP wrote:I wonder how long the new condo's TM will hold up to the workout and sweat you will place on it, I doubt it's been used to that extent at all.

Fair question. The thing is really old, but it's build solid as a rock. Once I break it, I guess the Association will have to buy a new one...I know we have a more than $100,000 in reserves, that should get us a nice treadmill. king
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:02 am

@Diego wrote:Dave-O,

I will be following your training quite closely. I can't believe it was 3 summers ago now, but my recipe for success was four 12 mile runs each week(2 progessive), a long run(18-22), two 1 hour recovery runs(MP plus 2 minutes) and two lunch runs(one with high intensity intervals and one in the heat and humidity of TN) after my morning 12 mile progressive runs.

I think that running doubles twice a week, making a hard day even harder thanks to the intensity of the second runs, worked miracles. I will be interested to see what happens in a month or so to see how your coach adds in doubles.

I bet that you are on the right course for the marathon.

I'm really sorry about the Cubbies. I hope that their farm system is good(call everyone up now!!!). I noticed that they have had a few young stars having all star years. Why not take a chance on some other new blood?

As I'm running 80+ in singles, I am realizing that I became a little too reliant on doubles for mileage. I avoided running 10 miles on my easy days - thinking I wouldn't recover - but I am adapting just fine. And its paying off with the MLRs and long runs. 4 weeks ago I struggled to 14 miles; this Wednesday I ripped off 14 at a 6:30 pace no problem. So....I guess that's why I needed a coach.

As for the Cubs, I am pleased with what they've done so far. Dempster will be dealt for a pitching prospect shortly (I'm hoping to the Dodgers for Zach Lee). Garza is on the market but would require a stud, such as Shelby Miller from St. Louis or Jacob Turner/Nick Castellanos from the Tigers.

Brett Jackson will be called up for September. They just don't want to rush him, and want to continue to play Soriano, DeJesus and Reed Johnson in an attempt to attract a trade. LaHair is adjusting to right field quicker than I expected. Josh Vitters may get the call to play third, but from what I've read, he still has some major holes in his swing that need to be fixed. Good year in AAA though.

I love signing Jorge Soler. I am salivating at an OF is Jackson, Soler and Almora in 2014-15.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:10 am

Also, Diego, how do you feel about the Angels chances of winning the AL West? They're 3-1, which seems to me to be a good value bet.

With the expansion to 2 wild cards having to play each, there's much more incentive to win the division. No one will concede and be satisfied with a WC.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Diego on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:29 pm

@Dave-O wrote:Also, Diego, how do you feel about the Angels chances of winning the AL West? They're 3-1, which seems to me to be a good value bet.

With the expansion to 2 wild cards having to play each, there's much more incentive to win the division. No one will concede and be satisfied with a WC.



I love the Halo's new offense but Santana and Haren need to come around. If they wind up in the WC, it's anybody's game. Weaver does something special before the all-star break that only Koufax has done previously and gets no love. If he pitched in the WC game, he'd probably go 9, strike out 10, give up no runs, only to have the other guy(Price/Sale/Verlander) match him. Trout leads off the 10th with a walk, steals 2nd and 3rd and comes in with the winning run on a squeeze.
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Schuey on Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:27 am

What's up Dave?? I like what you are doing for this training cycle by letting going and trying something new. It can be the hardest thing to do as an athlete to put your faith into someone else but I really feel that this is going to be good for you. The best to you on your quest to having that marathon that you have been searching for for awhile.

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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:18 pm

Week 4 of Chicago Training: July 9 – 15

Monday: 12 miles – 1:17:46, 6:29 pace.
Tuesday: 10 miles – 1:08:44, 6:52 pace.
Wednesday: 14 miles - 1:32:38, 6:38 pace
Thursday: 4 miles – 30:18, 7:34 pace. 6 miles – 44:42, 7:27 pace.
Friday: 8 miles – 49:44, 6:12 pace
Saturday: 10 miles – 1:31:40, 9:10 pace.
Sunday: 18 miles – 2:01:08, 6:44 pace.

Week: 82
YTD: 2,057


So I’ve been pretty bad at keeping this blog up to date. Let’s just say new work and home life developments have been keeping me busy. And no, that doesn’t mean Britt is expecting.

As I tried to write a summary from two weeks ago, I realized I didn’t remember half the runs. When you’re running 10-12 mile general training runs every day, they tend to blend together, not that I’m complaining. I’m definitely not, because it’s been working. Reviewing my log, I noted that Wednesday’s 14 miler was “the best I’ve felt on a long run yet.” On Friday I felt so fresh that I tossed in 4 x 4:00 fartlek for the hell of it, which brought the pace down to 6:12 for the run. My aerobic fitness is getting improving exponentially week to week.

Saturday and Sunday I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico for my cousin’s wedding. I took advantage of the hilly terrain on Saturday, and scouted out a trail in Sante Fe National Forest. I got in a little over my head. The 3 mile loop started with 1,100 feet of ascent – from 8,300 to 9,440 – in the first mile. No joke: My split was 19:04 and I was sucking wind. After 3 miles on these switchbacks, I resorted to the roads for the remaining 7 miles. My pace down the mountain was sub-6:00; back up, my pace was 8:00+. This isn’t the type of running I am used to.

My ass was so sore the next morning I could barely get out of bed. Sunday evening, before a post-wedding BBQ at my cousin’s, I devised a plan to do the first hour of my long run on the treadmill to loosen up, and the rest on the paved path behind the community center. Though still low on oxygen, the run went much better than the day prior and I worked my average pace down to 6:44 by the end. I may have hammered a bit in the last 4 miles, but the lack of humidity really felt great.

It is strange seeming “only” 82 miles in my log for the week, but with only one double (caused by a work emergency), it was still a challenging week
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Re: No Longer a Fool

Post  Dave-O on Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:49 pm

Week 5 of Chicago Training: July 16 - 22

Monday: 10 miles – 1:12:29, 7:15 pace. The thing about this training program is that there’s never really an “easy” day. I mean, is 10 miles ever easy? Regardless of pace? Maybe it’s me, but it’s been a mental adjustment going from 6-8 miles to 10 miles as an easy run, especially when I’m jet-lagged and tired. Complaining aside, the run turned out just fine once I got moving.

Tuesday: 12 miles – 1:17:13, 6:26 pace, with miles 9-11 at goal marathon pace. Tonight I had a fast finish run on schedule, with the target being 5:45 pace for miles 9 through 11. So of course, it was 127 degrees with 99% humidity (all numbers approximate). Faced with either melting or the treadmill, I opted for the later. The run went smoothly and I nailed the MP miles with splits of 5:49, 5:45 and 5:44.

Wednesday: 5 miles – 37:25, 7:29 pace. 7 miles – 47:30, 6:47 pace. The schedule called for 10 today, which I was planning on putting in after work, but then I had great Cubs tickets fall into my lap. Shitty team or not, there’s no better place to be on a nice summer night than Wrigley Field. Short on a block of time, I put in easy runs of 5 and 7 – the extra miles hopefully making up slightly for having to split up the run.

Thursday: 14 miles – 1:34:46, 6:46 pace. Another long run, another humid evening. Seriously, this summer has sucked. I guess I should have seen it coming with the mild winter, but can a runner get one cool front to come through? Despite feeling fresh to start, I kept the pace conservative knowing that the swampy air would wear me down. And it did.

Friday: 10 miles – 1:09:30, 6:57 pace. What a weird day. I felt sluggish and tired throughout work and really wasn’t looking forward to running. Then, I get out on the lakefront and everything feels smooth and easy. Huh.

Saturday: 12 miles – 1:18:20, 6:32 pace, with miles 9-11 at goal marathon pace. This run was pretty much a repeat of Tuesday. Though the fast finish was technically not on schedule (sorry), I wanted the chance to log MP outdoors. Splits for miles 9 through 11 were 5:44, 5:41, and 5:43. It’s hard to say where my fitness is without any real workouts in the books, but the beauty of this whole coaching thing is that it’s not my problem to worry about. I’ll just continue to do what I’m told (slight modifications notwithstanding).

Sunday: 20 miles – 2:16:47, 6:50 pace. Coach advised to take it easy on my first 20 miler – a time on my feet run if you will. I took his advice to heart and really paced the run conservatively. Hell, I think the first 10 miles were a tad above a 7:00 pace. I sped up slightly in the second half but still never pushed the pace at all. Considering it’s been 3 months since my last 20, I was more than content with the result.

Week: 90
YTD: 2,147

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Dave-O
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