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Make No Little Plans

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Make No Little Plans

Post  Chris M on Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:24 pm

Hi, all. The new forums have me pumped up for this training cycle so I'll kick off a blog even though I'm heading out on vacation this weekend and may not be able to update much during the next week plus.

I'm training for the Chicago Marathon (October 9). I've been running for 3 years now and I've progressed from being a total couch potato to having some race results I'm happy with. Except the darn marathon! Despite having times at the shorter distance races that would indicate a sub 3:00 is possible and despite having had some nice training cycles, I've completely bombed out on the last 3 marathons I've raced (two Bostons and a Chicago). My PR remains stuck at 3:09 and so once again I'm going to try to take 10 minutes off of that old PR to get that elusive sub 3:00 I've been chasing. A big change brought on after a visit to the doctor's post-Boston was that I've learned that I'm blowing through my sodium stores in the long races and need to aggressively take supplements leading up to and while I run long. So far, so good on that front although we won't really know until October 9.

Turning a blind eye to my disappointing marathon results, coach Dave has yet to fire me so he'll be guiding me through the Summer of training. I'd expect the mileage to get up pretty high at the peak (100 for some weeks with normal weeks at 70+) and maybe less track work than I've done in the past but more longish tempos and pace runs. I think I've got a good base of fitness in place as I start off and recent runs have been going well so it looks like its all systems go for this cycle.

There are a couple of mid cycle races I'll run hard. There's a 5K in late July where I would like to try and go under 18:00 and there are two 10Ks I'll run (one in July; one in September) and I'd like to lower my PR at that distance as well. On September 18, a bunch of us will be running the Philly Half Marathon and I'd like to lower my current PR (1:25:05) there and that's a big one with Chicago right around the corner. I'll likely run other races during the Summer as tempo or pace runs. When I see something like "10 at goal MP" on the schedule, I find it so much easier and more enjoyable to sign up for a small local 10 miler or half and do the workout at that race. Those are fun runs. But most of my daily training will be out there solo on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail near my house or on the treadmill at work or home. I usually run at least once with my buddies Scott and/or Jason on the weekends and I'm helping them prepare for their BQ attempt at the Lehigh Marathon on September 11. I'll be going up there with them to pace them for about 20-21 miles of the race.

But so much of this blog will likely focus on things outside of running since that's where most of my life is. We've got a 10 year old daughter who is just finishing up 4th grade and the three of us (and my buddy Scott's family) are going on a Disney Cruise in the Mediterranean starting next week. I'll do my best to post while on that and hopefully upload some pictures as well. The stops are Barcelona-Malta-Sicily-Naples-Rome-Florence-Corsica-Monte Carlo. I've never been to any of those places and we are really looking forward to it. I will definitely run a lot while on the cruise, hopefully sometimes while ashore or else on the 1/3 mile track on the ship or on their treadmills. I'll also be eating to beat the band during that whole time so the Chicago cycle diet starts....uh, in July. My brother-in-law has actually moved in with us recently and a glass is half full way of looking at that is that our two dogs don't have to go in the kennel while we are gone. We have a 15 (!!) year old Black Lab named Mulligan and a 2 year old terror of a Golden Retriever named Juliet. It is a relief not to have to put Mulligan into the doggie jail for the vacation. Juliet deserves jail but she gets out of it too with my brother-in-law here to take care of her.

Work is work and fitting in everything including running around that is always tough. I have a demanding and time consuming job but it pays the bills and is one I like 90% or so of the time although expect a little whining here about it on bad days. I love to read, like good TV shows, I'm always interested in finding out what movies are worth us going to see and I'm always on the prowl for new music to load onto my running iPod. I'm a big professional sports fan (CONGRATS TO THE BRUINS! Go Red Sox!) and once this NFL strike settles, you can count on a healthy dose of fantasy football talk here too. But mi casa su casa. Thow a topic out there. Hijack the blog. Take it somewhere more interesting than "I ran a 7 mile recovery run today; it was very hot and humid..."
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Jerry on Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:32 pm

In answering Schuey's training plan thread, I was thinking it would be fun after I finish my base building, I just follow your plan and beat you in every workout, then the final race. Haha.

I like the sub 18 5k and half plan.
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Schuey on Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:13 am

@Jerry wrote:In answering Schuey's training plan thread, I was thinking it would be fun after I finish my base building, I just follow your plan and beat you in every workout, then the final race. Haha.

I like the sub 18 5k and half plan.

I have more to say but are dam Internet is still out so have to continue posting from phone! Which I don't mind but I hate typing on this dam thing for so long!

So anyways I just have to say your to dam funny Jerry! Please don't let that happen chris because if it does Dave will fire you and kick you in the balls!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:45 am

Chris, first of all, I had no idea you've only been running for 3 years. Amazing!
I'm curious to know how you were able to determine that you were using up your sodium stores during long runs/races. How do you plan to deal with that?
Finally, what a fantastic vacation you're about to take! Make sure we see a few photos.
And really finally, good luck in your quest to get to sub-3:00. Listen to your coach!!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Peg Coover on Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:17 am

While you are considerably faster than me, we have the marathon disappointment in common. Each of my first 4 marathons I got faster and faster. For the fifth I was super ready (so I thought) to get another PR and I ended up slower than my last two. Bummer! Humbling!

You will get the sub-3 this time! Very cool that Dave is your coach!

Enjoy that trip--it sounds incredible!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Chris M on Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:48 am

Seth, in a couple of marathons and some long runs done in real hot weather, I have had crushing cramps shut me down. These are not normal little spasm ones but feel like someone grabs my calf, hamstring, back or whatever with a vise and starts tightening. I dropped out of Chicago this Fall when they hit and at about the same mile point in Boston the same thing happened but that time I just walk/jogged it in. Same thing both times, though. I decided to get blood work done and prior to going in there, friends and family were filling my head with theories about magnesium, potassium and all sorts of complicated things....nope....plain ole sodium. The blood work ended up being done about 8 days after Boston and despite me eating a diet that I would characterize as VERY HEAVY on salt (potato chips are a vegetable, right?) the doctor said "you are completely out of sodium right now" when he looked at the results. Then they had me do a treadmill test where I didn't go for very long but they just wanted to measure something in my sweat and supposedly it is crazy high in sodium content. I'm a heavy sweater and I guess that coupled with the high sodium content of the sweat means that I just process the stuff out quickly....too quickly. Never an issue on runs or races under 2 hours but the marathon has been a problem. So I bought a bunch of these Suceed tabs which appear to be nothing but salt and started mainlining those, taking 4+ a day. I then went and did a hot weather 26.2 in early May just to test things out and get the 2012 BQ that I didn't at Boston. That went completely fine and I took a salt tab every time I took a gel. But I was at a much slower speed (7:20) than the 6:45 or so I target for raced marathons so who knows if I've really solved this.

Yes, 3 years as a runner for me. I was 35 pounds heavier than I am now when I came out of a year of recovery after having ACL and MCL replacement surgery on my left knee. I started off with P90X in early 2008 (that shed most of the weight) and then started running that Spring. After I thought I was getting in pretty good shape, I went to the track and did a time trial 5K. 30:02 and I was ALL OUT - to this day, I think that's as hard as I've worked in a race. So going from there to now looking at 17:59 for the same distance is pretty crazy. But I do point out often that it is all very doable. I started from zero at age 39. There's no magic to it, no secret workout, no special shoe. What worked for me was just consistently getting out there and starting out running 11:00 miles or whatever I was doing then but then just doing it again and again and again. Over time, just that alone turned those 11:00 miles into 6:00 miles. Ok, enough of the self help like babble. Run More like Manning would say. It works.

Here's this week in running. Aiming for 78 for the week. Mostly easy running but I did 10 with 4 at tempo (6:26 for the tempo portion) Tuesday and then 10 progression today. Dave wanted the last two at 6:45. I did the last one at 5:56! Hey, I was late for work and had to step on it...although I was so gassed after that last mile that I probably spent more time with my hands on my knees catching my breath than a simple 6:45 mile and getting in the car would have taken. I'm doing something I very rarely do tomorrow which is a non-weekend long run. 18 tomorrow. With the flight to Spain (how often do I get to drop that statement in there?!) this weekend and the cruise starting, I wasnt confident I would get an uninterupted long run in Saturday-Sunday. Ideally I'll do another fairly long run on Sunday on the ship (day at Sea) but I'll have to play that by ear. Hey, its Fathers Day so I can do anything I want, right?
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Ken Mello on Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:57 am

We looked at that particular cruise as well, thinking that the next one we want to do is a Disney cruise. I think we decided to eventually do the Disney Alaska cruise instead, but the European one looked AWESOME. You guys are going to have a great time! I hope you get more running done than I did on our recent cruise - I think my total was about 5 miles for the whole trip! Very Happy
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Dave-O on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:05 am

If you don't break 3 hours in Chicago, please fire me.

@Chris M wrote:
...and then 10 progression today. Dave wanted the last two at 6:45. I did the last one at 5:56!

Matt, can we add a facepalm emoticon?

And I guess an appropriate first post to this blog would be: "Make big plans; aim high in hope and work ..."
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Kenny B. on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:22 am

Great start to the new blog. You have some very exciting things going on in your life. Lucky you with the nice vacation coming up.

It is truly amazing going from 5K. 30:02 to 17:59. I went from 29:15 to 20:23. But dropped it to 21:10 in 5 months of running.

Anyways, as always your blog will be jammed packed with this and that. Looking forward and wish you well on going sub 3. You certainly have it in you.


Last edited by Kenny B. on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:39 am

I'm glad you had a doctor that was able to help you figure out the sodium issue, and I hope taking the sodium tablets really does solve it.
I didn't realize that you've had two knee surgeries. Yours were different issues than what has caused me to have my three surgeries, but it's always good to see that someone else has been able to fight through the injuries and have great success. Unlike you, I won't be getting back to Boston in 2012, but my hope is that I can get the BQ back later this year for 2013.
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Mark B on Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:03 am

Good luck in this training cycle, Chris. I have a feeling that fixing the electrolytes issue might well just be the key to stronger performances in the marathon. I hope so, anyway!

Enjoy your cruise. Hopefully, relatives and dogs will leave your house intact while you're gone.
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Natalie on Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:42 am

Chris, somehow I don't picture you as a couch potato! Have fun on your cruise. We just got back from one and had to put our dogs in doggy jail. Except that it was more like a spa with the pricetag to match!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Chris M on Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:43 pm

I'm playing around with how to post images. This site really is a lot better and easier than the old place was...

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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Dave-O on Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:04 pm

Whoa whoa whoa....we can post GIFs? Uh oh. I better keep this work safe...
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  tom on Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:09 pm

Hi Chris!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Kenny B. on Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:15 pm

@Chris M wrote:I'm playing around with how to post images. This site really is a lot better and easier than the old place was...


Now just get better pics on here!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Matt W on Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:30 pm



I take a day to travel and you post a blog and are on page 2 already! It's like the old days around here.

I'm glad that you have found something that's helping your cramping issue. Hopefully, it really shows it's worth in October when it really counts. You have put in a lot of hard work and we are all looking forward to the day you break into the 2:XXs. Have fun on your cruise (like I need to tell you that) and good luck with your training cycle.
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Chris M on Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:45 am

Allright gang, this is probably my last post from stateside for awhile. We fly out on the red eye tonight to Madrid! Connect there tomorrow morning for a short flight to Barcelona and then the cruise starts from there Saturday evening. It would be really good if I slept on planes better than I do. I have to go to London fairly often for work and I always take the red eye but if I get 2 hours of total sleep on these overnight flights, I'm lucky. I'm usually a great sleeper and home or on the road but something about being in a plane seat just makes it impossible for me. I'm always so jealous as I look around at everyone completely crashed out and getting sleep. I just looked up my movie choices for my 3am sleepless viewing.....Just Go With It (huh?), The Tourist (I'd watch that), Rango (eh), Hall Pass (probably watch it), Just Peck (huh?), The Adjustment Bureau (saw it - not bad).....hmmm...I'd really rather sleep. I'll try anyway.

18 miles to run later today before I get on the plane. If all goes well, I'd like to actually run in Barcelona Saturday as a way to shake off some jet lag. There's a way cool looking route from where the ship is up to where the 1992 Olympic Stadium complex is up on a mountain. They might not let me on the boat and then right off but I'm going to try.

I'll try and log on from the seas and check in from time to time.
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Schuey on Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:51 am

You and the family have a great trip Chris! I'm so jealous one of these days Lisa and I will have to take a trip like. Have fun on that 18 miler, my longest run since Boston has been 12 miles! Ha I better start getting on top of it.
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Dave-O on Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:58 am

Enjoy the trip Chris!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  KathyK on Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:00 am

Love the new blog title, Chris!
Now that you have the sodium store figured out, I'm sure the next marathon will see you crossing the finish line in 2:xx!
Hope you have a great vacation!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:22 pm

Have an awesome trip, Chris! I ran in Barcelona in 1992 before the Olympics around the harbor area and it was beautiful. Nothing near 18 miles though - more like 4!

I'm so glad to see the cramping issues being dealt with. I so hope that simply sodium is the solution as I can so relate to your issues. I take Succeed tablets before all of my runs over 1 hr in the summer time even in NY state since I, too, am a very heavy sweater. I already had an issue 2 wks ago when I knew I should have taken another tablet after 1 hr and didn't. I should really know better.

I had no idea that you had only been running for 3 yrs - that is very cool. Despite your having grown up in Wellesley, I'll still welcome my fellow Bruins and Red Sox fan!
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  John Kilpatrick on Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:32 pm

You have a very inspirational story about your running start to where you are now. Good stuff.... Hope you are having (had?) a great trip.

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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Dave-O on Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:19 am

/still awaiting update....
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Re: Make No Little Plans

Post  Schuey on Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:47 am

@Dave-O wrote:/still awaiting update....

Maybe he got lost in Spain and hasn't made it back yet. lol!
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