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Friday, October 31, 2014

Coping with "Post Racepartum" Depression

Preparing for a marathon can be an intense 16 weeks of training and sacrifice filled with a truckload of emotion that may come crashing down on you days after you cross the finish line.

First 1mile Since MCM... Might be time for a shave!!!
Once the adrenaline wears off and the pain subsides some runners are left with a hollow feeling inside.  I never really gave much thought to "race partum depression" until a few days after completing MCM and I was in a funk.  I took to the FB airwaves to see if I was alone and asked the question: "Post Race Partum Depression Myth or Fact".  Here are a few of the responses-I'll let you come to your own conclusion:

Nothing but open road ahead!!!
"Oh my God if somebody was watching me yesterday they would NEVER have believed that I'm a runner!  I looked like a baby deer just learning how to use their legs.. Or maybe a very drunk person... Geez it was ugly!!  LOL!" -Tracey G.

"Fact!  I have been feeling lost now that it's over... All the hype leading up to it...  Guess I need to do it again next year!" -Christine G

"Emotionally exhausted but can't sleep, irritable and just "blah".  I need to hobble my way through at least a mile or two soon". -Allison R

"Fact! I am totally feeling it!" -Jamie M.

The general consensus after my impromptu survey was, there's some truth to feeling "blah blah yucky yuck" after a race.  My curiosity about post race depression led me to a few articles online: 6 Ways to Beat Post Race Depression, Mccormacks Tips for Avoiding Post Race Depression and Post Marathon Depression Tips to Get Back in The Race.

Today was a brighter day... Oh look I shaved!!!! Lol
As I read the comments I realized there was a common thread that binds runners together and it was in the prescription-sign up for another race.  This was the first time I felt bumbed out after a race and I guess it's because of the expectations I placed on myself.  I was looking to BQ in MCM and that didn't happen, while I'm at peace with the results the competitor in me started thinking about what I was going to do differently next year on my ride home from DC.  The high hadn't even wore off yet and I was already looking for the next fix.  Lol!!!

I'm learning to enjoy the process along the journey!!!
I felt like Chris Rock's character Pooky in New Jack City... Where he's a crack head the only difference is this is a health addiction.  Lol. But, an addiction none the less and yes it feels like races be stalking me and calling my name... "Derek... Derek... Cmon Son let's start looking now, you know you want to sign up and run!!!"  I will be fighting the urge to sign up for another marathon or half for a while, the only thing on the horizon is the Manchester Road Race Thanks Giving Morning-which reminds me I need to sign up, let me do that now! Ok I'm finished registering back to the post.  Addicted!

Yesterday I took some to reflect on my marathon season this year and the progress that I've made in the three years since finding the love of my life in 2012.  And it helped to get me out of the funky funk mode.  It's amazing how something as simple as calculating the difference between my time in 2012 and 2014 changed my perception.  2hr:15min is nothing to shake a stick at; I don't talk about it to brag or boast but to encourage others.  I entered the sport late in life, at 46 I got the strange notion that I wanted to run a marathon-so I did.  Fast forward 3yrs and I've run 6 marathons and 6 half marathons.  It's never to late to start running, I've gotta warn you though it can be addictive but, don't worry there are a number of support groups to help you cope with your new love.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MCM Recap OooRah!!!

Thousands of runners from around the world swarmed the nations capitol last week for what would be the start of an incredible weekend, this would be my first time running with the Marines and I'm glad I made the trek from CT.

I hit the road early Saturday morning and headed straight to the Armory for to pick up my bib but, no one mentioned the line. Oh my gawd it was insane, to pass the time I played name those kicks.

This should qualify me for double agent status "Half Fanatic and Marathon Manic"
I've become pretty adept at this silent mind game while engaging in cordial conversations with fellow runners, 30 minutes seemed like some pressed fast forward and the pace especially picked up when a street vendor asked a random stranger to watch their cart while they ran an errand-once the vendor walked away in chorus we all said "free food"!!

We're getting close to the entrance... OooRah!!
Lucky for him no one raided his cart, we waited patiently to get in. Security was tight and we had to pass through a check point once we crossed the threshold we entered an Armory filled with Marines vendors runners and charged with excitement of participation in the people's marathon thoughts of waiting in line were instantly flushed from our minds.

Yeah Baby!!! We're almost around the corner!!!
I didn't spend a lot of time at the Expo but, I did manage to hit up a few food sample booths which made the experience reminecent of shopping on a Saturday in a Costco.  The Alaskan Salmon squares and pasta salad rocked!! They were located adjacent to Salming booth.

Salming Running Team
I popped in to bring them greetings from Stefan who's a Salming Ambassador from NJ. David and his team were great I was able to scoup up additional info about the brand in preparation for my upcoming review of the Salming Distance!!!  Stay tuned!!!

They were laid out chilling on the rug, can you blame em...
Even with all the commotion and excitement in the Armory these folks seemed mild mannered and unimpressed.  Lol..  For my shake out run the plan was to jog to the start from my hotel, which according to the advertisement on their web site was only a mile away.  I laid out my gear for the race and it was at that point I realized I didn't have anything to run in.  Duh😁😁😁!!

Traditional Gearfie
Fortunately expos usually carry cheapo gear that would fit the build and it was only 10min from where I was staying dwnt DC.  Before heading to the Expo I downed to slices of pizza and when I reached the Armory the line dwindled to a trickling of runners.  My second trip was missioned focused the plan was to get in/out in record time and return to the hotel change clothes, run, take an Epsom salts bath then sleep. 

I found a great deal on a pair of running tights and top for $30 and headed back to the hotel to change and run.  I checked with a local hotel staff member for directions and thats when I realized the start was more like 3 miles away... Sugar!! False advertisement, I'm not doing that, so I just ran around dwnt DC.  A lavender Epsom Salts Bath with dim lights and music was soothing-afterwards I headed to bed where I tossed/turned a bit before finally falling asleep and beating the alarm up Sunday morning.  

It was too early to read
This kiosk right here was driving me crazy it was too early in the morning to try and figure out how to get a metro card, fortunalty a fellow runner rescued me and I was able to catch the train with my fellow runners. 

Zombie Runners
Not just any runners, this was a special group of Zombie Runners marching single file in the dark to run with the Marines.  Before getting to runners village for baggage drop off there was security check point.  The line moved quickly.  Now it was a question of hurrying up and wait for God to turn on the lights. 

The Marines roll deep!!!
I took care of my bathroom needs prior to leaving the hotel which was a good thing because I'm not really a fan of the porta potties but, they certainly come in handy in a pinch.  One of the blessings of getting up early was being able to christen the porta potty-full ceremony.  

What a coordinated effort!!!
As the curtains in the sky opened and sun rays burst through the darkness we made our way to the corrals for the opening ceremony.  The Marines really know how to put on a show.  While I'm standing in the corral I feel a tap on my shoulder and a woman's voice in my ear, "hey you're wearing our favorite shoe".  

When I turned around it was a husband and wife team rocking Adidas, she had on the Boston Boost and he was wearing the Adios Boost-he wasn't sure what he was wearing and had to be reminded by his wife. Lol!!! We exchanged a few pleasantries and a good laugh especially when she told me I was going to win the race.  She was a BEAST and if I had to bet, my money would be on the wife beating her husband not that he wasn't fit.  She just seemed alert energetic you know  beastmode-I will beat you up a hill pushing my twins in a stroller look.. What?

Help is on the way!!!
Who else would be able to arrange for paratroopers and two Marine Helicopters to fly overhead for the start of a race.  We were getting a little antsy because we didn't see the 3:25 pacer.  What an awe inspiring experience before the start.  Omg!!!  The announcer made his finally remarks to kick off the race and I hear what sounded like the deep bass of cannonball explosion in sky and we were off and running.

The first 3 miles were up hill following the red/white pacer balloons and trying to find my stride.  Somewhere after the 45min point I took a salt tablet and washed it down with the juice from two orange slices-the taste was refreshing.  A  1/4 mile up the road I felt a little side stich  that caused me to slow down a till the pain subsided.

MCM Race Spilts...
At the half way point the official time clocked me 1:43:02 according to my Garmin splits I ran a 1:39:52 and it felt like I was going hard but paced so I slowed down.  As the gap between me and the balloons increased it felt like my goal was drifting away but I was still working.  Throughout the race we passed a number monuments in our nations capital but it was all blur; what was crystal clear to me were the bright orange blue Boston Jackets along the route.  Between mile 19 and 20 I had to use the bathroom WTH!!  When I finished in the porta potty I touched my ankles and hit the asphalt.

Those final 6miles were tough but, I kept plugging along and noticed a few runners cramping up and coming to a screeching halt.  I stopped at one point to walk about 7 steps then started running again. 

As I started over the bridge the 3:35 group passed me and then the 3:45 group passed me.  Now it's evident that I'm not going to make my goal and I was at peace with that.  I was encouraged by the words of Shalane Flangan after missing her goal of beating Deena Kastor's time in Berlin, "We went big, I don't race conservatively.  We'd come to test our limits and we found out today where it was".  Sunday I found out what my limits were and I'll work during the off season to make up the next 24min.

The Crowd Support was Amazing!!!
Coming through the last mile I took my headphones off so I could hear the crowd and glanced at my watch 26.5, "stop playing this isn't over yet, did someone move the finish line"?  What a bitter sweet ending to the 2014 Marathon season for the Sole Man and The Ox Man.  I was proud to receive my bling from the Marines.

Monday Blingfie Day
As I made my old man diddy bop walk to the baggage pick up I stopped for a minute to sit down before my butt hit the curb a guy yells out keep moving-not going to happen. 😳😁😜... Lol!!  I knew better, I just needed a moment before continuing to the UPS trucks to change clothes and hop on the Metro back dwntn DC to my Hotel

Photo Karma... Agreeing to take pics of random strangers in hopes someone will return the favor!!!
Kids say the damed things and you gotta love em and laugh, leading up to MCM I used the hashtag MCM often without giving it a second thought-apparently MCM also stands for "Man Crush Monday's" and my kids were trying to figure out why I was using it in the first place and why in the world I was posting it on Tuesday and Thursday all out of context.  I just buckled over in laughter.

I had to be propped up!!
This has been an amazing marathon season for me starting with a Trail Marathon in PA's Grand Canyon and culminated in DC with the Marines.  I'm extremely proud of my accomplishments to date and while I didn't reach my goal I made significant progress in that direction.

What a great treat 
Michael Jordan suffered a devastating defeat by the Detroit Pistons that caused him to walk off the court with tears in eyes.  And while it hurt it didn't crush him as a competitor it only served to make him stronger, he would return the next year and do damage.  So on that note it's back to the drawing board, thanks for following along this journey with meπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„!!!


Friday, October 24, 2014

BQ Profiles: The Heart of Fierce Competitors... 9 Athletes Share their journey to Qualify for BOSTON!!!

The lure of qualifying for Boston came 2 years after being bitten by the running bug, Its ironic because I'm originally from NY and you would think I'd wannna run NYC first and I do.  But, Boston is the runner's world version of a meritocracy where admittance is based off your individual performance and not left to chance like a lottery.  

Everyone has a different impetus for wanting to qualifying for Boston, I recently caught up with a diverse group of extraordinary athletes who qualified for Boston, here are their stories and answers to 3 questions-cue the Law and Order music

1.What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?  

2. What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ? 

3. Finally, what was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time was feeling like when you received the official notice?

The thought never crossed my mind that once you were bitten with the running bug you'd become immune to qualifying for Boston until I got schooled by Becki who qualified for Boston but, never had an overwhelming desire to run Boston.  "No real reason why.  Same reason I never cared to dance ballet of sing opera".  Becki said "I have friends who do both and are incredibly passionate about them, but I've always had other things that, for whatever reason, I was more drawn towards".  Becki alluded to who the ballerina was but swore me to secrecy... LOL

What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

Becki P

My friend Molly Pritz coaches me. I've known Molly since college, so she's familiar with my training history and my body's response to different stimuli. She's run under several different well-known coaches, including Keith and Kevin Hanson, Mark Hadley, and Brad Hudson, and she's achieved quite a bit of running success herself. I've come to trust her methodology. It can be hard to write a program for yourself and be objective about it, and she's able to use an outsider's perspective to write a cohesive plan and hold me back when necessary, since I have a tendency to run myself into the ground in a matter of weeks when I try to coach myself. My marathon training involved 90-110 mile weeks, with 3 quality workouts per week (2 tempo/MP/LT/wave workouts, plus a long run, which may or may not have included some uptempo pace). I think it was about a 12 week cycle, with a 10 day taper.

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

Have a base. Everyone wants to get into running marathons, but it's to your benefit to have some years of training under your belt. I ran competitively for 11 years before I ran my first marathon. I'm not saying you need to have a decade of running experience before you attempt a marathon, but there's no need to jump in right away either. Also: know yourself. Know how your body reacts to training, know what your body can handle, know when it's time to push and when it's time to back off, and know if and when you need a coach.

Finally, what was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time was feeling like when you received the official notice?

I guess I'll throw Philly here, since that was the last marathon I ran. 3:02:30, I think? I was pretty stoked. It was one of my best executed races, with clockwork splits and a strong finish. 

Margo G
Next up is another fierce competitor, In 2010 due to injury Margo thought her dream slipped away and she would never make it to Boston.  "I went through 18 months of what I would call the torture and agony of my recovery but slowly I was able to fight my way back after my surgeon said my running days were pretty much over"!  Check out her video story here, courtesy of the Adrenaline Guy. I was warned to have a box of kleenex present before watching-you may want to do the same.  

"Running the Boston Marathon.  It’s something that’s been on my mind since I ran my first marathon back in 2005.  At that time I didn’t know what it take to get there but, knew I wanted to be a part of that elite group of runners.  I spent the next several years, on my own, trying to become a better/faster runner". 

Wanting to do something unique when she turned 40 years old and running a marathon seemed unique enough.  Margo completed her first Marathon in 2005 and like many of us had one goal in mind and that was to beat Oprah's time. Lol!  Before the start of the race she was terrified but as the miles ticked away she was able to settle into a comfortable pace.  With several early restroom breaks she felt like her goal was slipping away.  "When I approached mile 25 I saw the 4:30 pace group and thought if I can just get ahead of them I WILL beat Oprah….lol.  I gave it all I had and while the 4:30 pace group was walking through the water stop, I kept running through it and never looked back.  When I made the last turn for the finish line I was very happy to see it but just in awe with the crowd yelling, screaming and clapping and the announcer shouting out to all the runners.  When I crossed I completely broke down unexpectedly.  I was so overcome with so many emotions all at the same time I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so I did BOTH….at the same time"! 

Are you stoked yet? I am, especially because now we get to travel into international territory without having to board a plane or deal with the hassles of going through customs.  Our next athlete Beofra who BQ at the Seoul International Marathon. 

Beofra Bee
What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

I did not train to qualify for Boston.  I trained to constantly get stronger and faster while staying healthy/injury free.  No training plan was used this time.  I would just go out and get in my miles before work 5 days a week.  Now that I have been accepted, I will follow a 24 week training schedule from Runner's World because my goal is to challenge myself to run a PR in 2015. 

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

Train hard and smart!  I think it is important to set realistic goals and reduce pressure to attain them.  Boston happens every year so there are several opportunities available to qualify as long as you put in the work; Hard work pays off.  Don't wish for it...Work for it!  It's also important to remember that everyone is different, what works for me, may not work for you.  Stay positive because as with life, there will be good and bad days.

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like you received the official notice?

My BQ Marathon Race was the Seoul International Marathon March 2014.  I was excited because it was my PR with no thoughts of going to Boston because of my overseas location.  I had been running a qualifying time for over a year in smaller races and my main focus was to just get faster time with ease.  I didn't think about Boston until a friend suggested that I submit my application.  It was months early but they reminded me of the registration dates and that's when I looked at the revised qualifications.  They were different from when I ran in 2010.  So...I started to get excited considering I would be able to register early due to my time being faster than the qualification time.  After receiving the official notification, several people say it feels like Christmas...to me...it felt like I had been given a promotion.  I had been accepted not because of luck, as some call it...but based on my noted performance.  Now, the only thing I am NOT looking forward to is the over 15 hour plane ride to Boston and back.  I am VERY excited at to be with my SOLE MATES!!

I hope you enjoyed your stay in Seoul as much as I did but, unfortunately we've gotta cut the trip short and travel back to the US-on the upside there's jet lag to overcome.  Now that we've touched down let's meet our next athlete, Peter.  Peter is a humble transparent professional who shared his roller coaster journey with us.    
Peter S.
What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

I had used the bq time as a general guideline of what to shoot for with a vague “I’d like to qualify, but I’m not sure I’d go run the race” thought. That said, I seemed to be plateauing just above my age cutoff and felt stuck. I had a couple of particularly bad marathons (pacing issues, training issues) while using online training plans, so I decided to hire a coach. My coach helped focus my training and added a lot of variance to my workouts. I PR’d my next few half marathons and then ran a PR at LA with a time that was almost 15 minutes faster than my BQ. Needless to say, I’m heading to Boston. It’s a race I really want to run now that I’ve qualified. 

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

Remember that the marathon is a long and tricky race, and it may take more than a few races to get one in which all of the elements line up…training, gastro, weather, mental strength, etc. 

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like you received the official notice?

I BQ’d in LA. I was aiming to BQ a month later at Mountains To Beach, but had a really good day at LA. Despite the fact that it got hot, I knew the course well and FINALLY got my nutrition right so I had some zip left at mile 20. I was so happy to break through the 3:25 plateau that i’d been stuck at for years. Was very excited to get the notice that I’d been accepted. It feels like a rite of passage in the running community.  As far as inspiration. Mostly it was the challenge of having a qualifying time to beat. That said, I’m very happy to be rounding out some of the major US marathons I’ve run with Boston. LA, NY, Chicago and Boston seem like a nice group of races. 

Next up is Freddie who in his words failed miserably on his first attempt and was tempted to hang up his kicks and say to hell with this, but didn't.. Okay I'm done take away Freddie.

Freddie M
What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

For me, my BQ came after failing miserably on my prior attempt in 2013. I almost wanted to pack it in and say, to hell with this. I remember hitting the wall and hobbling across the finish line. A marathon will humble you. I learned to respect the distance. I used that failure to push me forward in 2014. I didn't use a training coach or a specific plan. My BQ training was a medley of different plans, advice from experienced runners and my own experience. I ran every day and just listened to my body of it cried for a day off. I also learned the art of the easy run!

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

Don't be consumed by it! It doesn't make you any less of a runner if you don't run Boston. It's when I understood this that I really just got back to running for the love of it! Focusing on my training and not worrying about my time or Boston. I got injured frequently in 2013 by over training. In 2014, with my new found approach, I was just beyond happy to be running injury free and loving it!

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like you received the official notice?

My BQ race was the Erie Marathon. My feelings once I crossed the finish line are hard to put in to words. I just remember several different moments running through my mind - hitting the wall last year, doing a 20-miler in a snow storm, all the time put in to training, the dedication, discipline & persistence....it was all worth it!  When I received the official notice, I couldn't believe it. A year later, I achieved a goal that I was ready to give up on. I still can't believe it... I think it won't hit me until I arrive in Boston in April 2015. I was inspired to set Boston as a goal because of the challenge. It's such a prestigious race. All runners dream of qualifying & running Boston. For me, it was important to qualify under the 3:05 requirement. I didn't want to have to wait to qualify for Boston under the slower times.

Next up is a Runnning Shoe Geek, Salming Ambassador and avid runner Stefan.
Stefan A

What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

I have been using coach for the last two years. For Boston 2013, I used Reno Stirrat (www.distance-running-tips.com) For Boston 2014 and ongoing I ave been coached by Caleb Masland (www.coachcaleb.com)

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

Depends how far you are away from your BQ time. Set up a realistic goal. Its not realistic that you will cut 30 min in one year.  Be consistent with your training, look what you can do differently from your last marathon training cycle and don't be afraid to ask for advice. To many runners keep doing the same training over and over again. If you don't do intervals, tempo run workouts. Try to add this to your training.

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like when you received the official notice?

I'm lucky and always get my BQ in at Boston or a year ahead. Of course its a great feeling to know that you have a BQ and to get the official notice.  Boston have always been the race for me. When I lived in Sweden, Boston was the race everyone was talking about, even 15 years ago. How cool it would be to go to Boston and run the most classic marathon in the world. When you get to Boston, the whole town is breathing running and I cant compare the feeling to any other race. Boston is Boston and I will always try to get my BQ in. 2015 will be my 6th Boston.

Allison aka Iron Horse
What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

Prior to starting my training for the Louisiana Marathon I was coming off of a stress fracture, so my training cycle ended up being almost 21 weeks long with my "long" runs kicking off at a whopping 4 miles. After not doing any running for a few months, breaking the 4-mile mark felt like an accomplishment in itself.  I didn't use a proper coach for the race but I did use the help of a lot of runner friends who were veteran marathoners. I had all of my long run distances scheduled up until the race, and I worked out a routine of doing my speed work on the treadmill on Tuesday, my mid-week long run at stupid o'clock on Wednesday mornings, and the rest of the week I let fall into place with whatever was going with my schedule, allowing for one day of cross training and one day completely off. 

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

I know I might be going against the philosophy of a lot of training programs, but I really think it's important to get a significant portion of your long runs in at your goal marathon pace. Putting in 10-15 miles of my longer runs at goal pace, if not faster, gave me the strength I needed to sustain that pace during the race and confidence that I could do so. 

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like when you received the official notice?

It was an incredibly gratifying feeling crossing the finish line. Louisiana was the first time I was attempting something that far outside of my comfort zone, where there was a real possibility that I might not reach my goal- I had to shave over half an hour off of my previous time- and I remember that it hurt, a lot, once I stopped running, but in the best way possible.  Allison ran a 3:30:07 this past January in Louisiana.

The wait after qualifying can be a nail biting experience, Monica wanted to refrain from celebrating prematurely-she wanted the official notification before she got the party started.

Monica W
What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

I joined a running group which was headed up by a coach.

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

Make sure you have the time to dedicate to the training. Listen to your coach. If she/he says do 8-10 hill repeats, do 10.  Try to get all of your runs in, especially the long runs.  Do speed work and interval training.  Get some cross training in, at least once a week.  Lower your fat intake and increase carbs and protein.  Pick a BQ friendly marathon.  Run with a pace team. That way you can concentrate on your running and not your pace and time. They have them listed on runners world.com. 

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like when you received the official notice?

My BQ marathon was the Grand Rapids marathon in Grand Rapids, MI. When I crossed the finish line, I wasn't sure I had reached my qualifying time. I looked at the clock, it was several seconds past my time. According to my watch, I did qualify. I didn't want to get too excited until I got the official time. That didn't happen until an hour later. It was the most incredible feeling to realize that all the training and hard work had paid off. But then I started to wonder if I had qualified by enough. Having to wait almost a year to find out if it was good enough was the hard part. When I got the email saying I had been accepted, I just stared at it. Then I read it again. I jumped up and said thank you Jesus! 

This thing never gets old after conquering heartbreak hill 16 times Isaiah was still excited when he received his notification and as a means of paying it forward he serves as a running coach.

Isaiah D
What was your training like preparing to BQ did use a coach or trained yourself using a marathon plan, if you followed a plan which one did you follow?

In training for the Richmond Marathon,  the Marathon I ran my BQ time. I basically did lots of speed work,  no hills or inclines. My long runs was done every  other week. I have been training myself for 29 years.

What tips would you share with anyone trying to BQ?

The key to Qualifying, Consistency, Discipline, and training smart. 

What was your BQ Marathon race and your feelings once you finished realizing you reached your qualifying time, finally what was feeling like when you received the official notice?

I have ran my BQ time 25 times,  ran the Boston Marathon 16 times. When I received my confirmation, I was very excited. Running Boston is special! I didn't think I will ever run a marathon, because after running a half I just couldn't imagine going another 13 miles at that pace. After watching it on television,  I decided to train at a higher level. I Prayed to God to give me the knowledge and direction, he did.  All I  wanted to do is run it once.  My qualifying time is 3:30. Age group 50-54!

Wow I'm full and just got chills, it's a combination of these compelling stories and I pretty sure DD just cranked up the AC.  Lol.  I would like to publicly thank Becki, Margo, Beofra, Peter, Freddie, Stefan, Monica, Allison and Isaiah for sharing their intimate training journeys with me to share with you I appreciate you ladies and gents.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Skechers GO Meb Speed 2 Review

The Go Meb Speed 2 is not a new shoe on the market, however it is new to me.  After hearing rumblings about the GRS 2 in running forums I became interested seeing what all the "fuss" was about.  

Since none of my LRS carried the shoe my only alternative was to purchase it online so I delayed checking out the GRS 2.  I had all but given up on the shoe until I received an email from Fleet Feet Sports saying they were teaming up with Skechers to bring the shoes to the NU Hartford Marathon Expo.  

Stripped Down racing flat

There are some shoes you try on and nothing special happens and then there are times when you are intrigued and your head tilts to the side in amazement-the latter is describes the fit of the GRS 2.
Sliding my foot in the shoe felt like it was vacuumed sealed, snug not tight more of a tailored fitted suit as opposed to one fresh off the rack.

Secure Heel Counter offers a no slip comfortable feeling
The GO Meb Speed to is a racing flat build to the specifications of Meb.  I found it fitted in all of the right places from toe box to heel counter.  Lacing up the shoe I immediately noticed a secure feeling in the heel counter with the microfiber fabric which Skechers uses it locks your heel in place.

Honeycomb Light breathable Mesh Upper

The uppers on the GRS 2 feature welded overlays, honeycomb breathable mesh and flat laces that stayed tied during your runs.  Skechers doesn't use a traditional EVA material in the sole which has been the industry standard for decades instead they use a proprietary Resalyte Midsole

High Abrasion Strategic Pod Sensors 

According to the Skechers website Resalyte is a lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention that helps absorb impact.  The sole also features a DuPont Hytrel stability plate in the midfoot for a supportive and secure run.  The GRS 2 is a netural shoe despite the use of support and stability verbiage.

Firm Fast Responsive Ride
I resisted the urge to run the NU Hartford Marathon in the GRS 2 but, I've logged several miles and different workouts since my rainy marathon in preparation for MCM and I've been impressed with the ride.  The GO Meb Speed 2 is a low profile racing flat with a 4mm drop and firm ride.

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Running in the shoe felt great the GRS 2 is lightweight and offers a fast turnover.  I was able to consistently hit an avg 180spm maxing out at 190spm, compared to two other runs before Hartford-the Hoka Clifton and Adidas Boston Boost V5 were the shoes worn in the comparison workouts.  The GRS 2 provided the fastest time by a minute.

Mstrike Midsole promotes a mid foot landing and fast turnover

With MCM on the horizon I was curious to see if anyone ran a marathon in the GO Meb Speed 2 beside Meb, so I posed the question to the Running Shoe Geeks and few of them took the GRS the distance-comments ranged from Great to Excellent.  Seth and Bill actually PR'd in Boston last Spring.  "Best marathon shoe I've ever ran in" according to Seth, Bill said "Never thought about my feet during the race".  I'll be sure to share my feedback after MCM.  If you are in the market for a racing flat consider the GRS 2, Skechers nailed it with the Go Meb Speed 2.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

12 Building Blocks To Qualify for Boston

With NU Hartford Marathon in the rear view mirror and MCM on the horizon I promised to outline the 12 blocks that I used to help me prepare to BQ after the intoxicating affects of the race wore off.  I set a respectable PR in the rain on Saturday but, I didn't go ghost busters given the weather-instead I decided to hold back until MCM later this month.  Before we get to the 12 blocks indulge me while I lay the foundation.  

NU Hartford Marathon October 11, 2014
Castor oil and Construction are two things that made Saturday's memorable for me growing up in Brooklyn not that they were enjoyable because they weren't-but they served a purpose. Castor oil was gawd awful and made me gag, but it prevented me from getting sick.  Working construction with my pops on Saturday meant I wasn't out running around with my friends.

I Always Look Forward to Seeing the Mums!!!
Saturday mornings were set aside to work with my father and it was during these times he taught me valuable life lessons and a thing or two about being a handy man that would prove useful when I became a homeowner. 

One lesson stands out from the rest and that's the one about foundations; so here we are painting an apartment, I say we but really it's all my pops-(I was on clean up carry this get that detail).  In the room there's a crack in the wall and my Father makes the crack bigger, being a curious kid what do you think I said? Why are you making the crack bigger?  My Father was a man of few words so he just grunted sucked his teeth-(Its a West Indian custom permissible by adults but considered rude if practiced by kids... Lol) and told me to just watch; so I sat back and watched after making the crack bigger he filled it with joint compound.  

Working on this post waving in the matrix.
When we finally took a break for lunch he explained the whole process to me.  My pops said in order to repair the crack we would have to make it bigger so the joint compound would have something to adhere to, but you have to be careful because if the crack comes back that means you have a problem with the foundation.  Awwww the light bulb came on and it all made sense.  

We can get all decked out in the latest running gear gadgets compression socks tights Garmin etc and don't forget the hottest kicks but, if we don't have a strong foundation we'll open ourselves up to injury.

The Blerch is Ready!!!  
So when I started training this year for NU Hartford more specifically trying to BQ I wanted to cross the finish line fast and injury free.  In order to do that I had to build a strong foundation which included spending more time on the road, getting some tools of the running trade and a solid blueprint-so I invested in a few books.

A Runners Reference Material
Now do you have to go out and buy these books? No. I did because I have a habit of writing in the margins highlighting dog earring pages etc and I don't Barnes and Noble or the library would appreciate it. Lol-plus I like to have them as reference material. 

12 BQ Building Blocks
The highted text are hyperlinks:

Hill Repeats: I found the steepest hill in my neighborhood to use for my hill repeats.  Dreaded them at first like Castor oil but swallowed gritted my teeth and learned to embrace them.  

Intervals:  This year I upped the ante and followed the advance marathon plan in The Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training.  A variety of work outs paid dividends.

Trackwork:  Yasso's 800 were added in the training mix in previous years they were non existent.

Recovery:  Rest is a critical and necessary part of training, I had to learn to resist the urge to run everyday.  Some days I just did a little stretching which isn't the runners buzz I wanted but it fit the build.  I haven't built up the nerve to take an ice bath yet, but I hear its really cool.

Strength Work:  Quick Strength For Runners was a helpful at home guide with pictures and explanations of the individual moves and then nicely packaged into bite size training programs.  

Diet: I'm far from the cleanest eater-if that even makes sense-lol.  But, I do try and make a conscious effort to stay away from processed food and prepare most of my meals at home.  Eat what works for you.  Sweets, ice cream and treats are my achilles heel.  For this training cycle I stayed away from the frozen food aisle or wore blinders when walking pass the ice cream coolers.

Mental Game:  The mental toughness discipline and consistency that it takes to it takes to train for and run a marathon spills over into other aspects of your life.  Battling the urge to stop when your body starts to ache during a race or put off a run because of the rain or blah blah's, once I discovered my WHY there was no stopping me.  Find you WHY and I guarantee you it will exponentially empower harness the mental power necessary to keep going when you want to quit.  

Fun:  I had a blast this summer training, the introduction of the weekly challenges kept things interesting for me not to mention the added competitive benefit of racing without the race fees. 

Weight Training:  I was never a gym rat but, realized that weights could serve to build strength and explosive power.  I partnered with a PT for a some tips.

Celebrate Milestones:  I make a practice of patting myself on the back, I'm not obnoxious about it. Lol.  After a good work out, run or race like a good coach I acknowledge the accomplishment and focus on the next challenge.  

Don't Take Yourself Too Serious:  Running mentally free works best for me, it's not necessary to carry additional weight on the trail, so I learned how to just laugh at myself and keep it moving unencumbered.

Start a Blog or Journal: Blogging about my training was a great way for me to monitor my progress, it also kept me accountable in a strange way and forced me to look critically at my workouts.