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Posts Tagged ‘matt runner’

I had a 6pm appointment on 20th & 5th this evening. Since I have to dash home at 5pm tomorrow to walk the dog, I won’t be able to get in my 6+ miler this week.  I decided instead to run home from my appointment, which meant showing up in my RaceReady shorts and Nike tee, which was kind of weird but not inappropriate.

The route was just a teensy bit over 5 miles, and basicaly I was able to skirt around the major points where things jam up traffic wine (both car & foot): Madison Square Park, the Midtown Tunnel, and Grand Central Station.  I’d decided ahead of time to ease up my pace a little since I’ve been tuckered out all week long. It felt really good to run 10 minute miles, for my lungs to not be burning as I chug up the 43rd Avenue hill to my apartment building. It also was colder than I thought it would be, and even though I worked up a sweat, I could have definitely run in tights or a long-sleeved shirt and been fine.

I listened to Dump Runners Club most recent episode, the one about finishing kicks.  It was so timely to me, since I have been thinking all week about Martin Lel, and his deadly kick.  Seriously, the last two marathons I’ve watched him in (NY and London) he has bested his competitors, who were on his heels until the very end, finishing fractionally after Lel.  Plus, he has really earned all of his wisdom about the distance, and even about the courses he’s run multiple times.

As an aside, my TNT coach texted me earlier today, he ran a PR in London but missed qualifying for Boston by just two minutes.  If that’s not bittersweet, I don’t know what is.

I don’t know Matt that well, just what he reveals to us through his Dump Runners Club podcast, but it was so obvious that he is tapering for Boston now.  The goofy energy he was giving off was a total sign of the taper jitters if ever I heard one.  Man, I feel you.  I hate tapering.

I am so excited for this weekend coming up. I love taking the train to Boston, first of all.  Secondly, I’m getting to spend a weekend with my friend JG and her husband M in their amazingly designed modern apartment just blocks from the marathon finish line, so I’ll be catching up with old friends.  And of course, the icing and the cream filling of this cupcake: the Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials, the Expo, and the Boston Marathon. OhmygodIcan’twait. These are the moments Husband knows to just step back and get out of the way, because there’s nothing he could do (short of running the Boston Marathon) that could tear my attention away from my sport this weekend.

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My second attempt a tempo run and I’m still working out the kinks, I think.  Last time I ran at 6.6 miles per hour on the treadmill, which put me on the slow side of my half-marathon goal and (therefore) temp run pace. This morning I re-read Matt Runner’s helpful comments about how to pace a tempo run before I left for the gym, who kindly calculated that I should be running between 8:47 and 9:10 minutes per mile.

I jumped on the treadmill, warmed up at a loping 5.5 mile-per-hour pace, and then sped up to 7 miles-per-hour.  (I really hate how the treadmill insists you set your pace per-hour; what runner thinks like that?  It’s all about the mile splits.  When are treadmill manufacturers going to figure it out and change the way we set our speed? Anyway, here is a super-fantastic handy-dandy treadmill conversion chart, courtesy of Phil Barnes, self-proclaimed “tri-geek” and writer of the Blog de Phil.) 

The tempo run felt good, I was sweating like a beast but was a little surprised at how strong I felt.  After about 25 minutes (I’d planned on running for 40 minutes) my right hamstring started to ache intermittently, and since that is the site of an old injury, and both hammies had been feeling tight all weekend anyway, I decided to call it quits after 30 minutes. No sense in risking injury while I’m trying to get faster, since getting injured will only make me… slower. Anyway, the only thing that diminished my pleasure in this workout was Andrew Napolitano on Fox & Friends flashing on the gym TV screens the whole time. 

A five-minute cool down left me with 40 minutes total on the dreadmill, and 4.4 miles completed (3.5 of those during my tempo run).  After I’d made it in to the office and did a little reverse pace calculation, I realized I’d run faster than my target range for the tempo run — I’d completed 30 minutes at 8:34 minutes-per-mile.  Holy guacamole, Batman. I had no idea I could run that fast for half an hour. What the fuck is going on (maybe it’s the perfect-for-breakfast Raspberry Gu I had before jumping on the treadmill?)!?

So that’s when I thought: well, just because I can, does that mean I should? I thought about the ache in my hamstring. But then I thought about my 10 (or 10.4?) miles run in 1:36:51 this weekend. I thought about how this year, each time I push my body to see what she can do, she responds with “yes I can.”  But then, I thought, maybe I’m over-thinking this.  Get yourself a treadmill conversion chart and keep it close. 

The thing that’s so cool about Phil’s conversion chart is that he tells you how long it would take you to complete a half-marathon, or a marathon, at the MPH pace on the treadmill.  So, 7 MPH would have me crossing the finish line in 1:52:23 — well under my sub-2 hour goal.  To just squeak by, 6.6 would put me in at 1:59:11.  That’s a little too close for comfort for me.  But, 6.8 is a Goldilocks just-right finishing time of 1:55:41.  So now I know.  Next time, tempo run at 6.8 MPH.

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During my long run today, I ran with Matt and Steve.  I look forward to listening to their podcasts almost as much as I anticipate my runs, and am very strict about only listening to running podcasts when I’m running.  It’s an organizational tic, I think.  Anyway, they were (as usual) excellent episodes.

Matt, on Dump Runners Club Episode 96, once again spoke eloquently about how inspiring it is to watch elite athletes do their thing, mentioning how memories of video he’d seen of the Cross Country Championships powered him through his last tempo run before the Boston Marathon.  I’m so far from Paula Radcliffe it’s laughable, but I do pull up images of her striding by me at Mile 13 of last year’s New York Marathon when I’m doing my own racing to snap me back into form or keep my arms pumping one hundred yards from the finish line. I don’t think I’d be nearly as dedicated and passionate a runner if I wasn’t also a fan.

Steve has been issuing episodes dedicated to the history & course of the Boston Marathon on Phedippidations.  I mentioned in an earlier post how much I was looking forward to his ‘cast on Kathrine Switzer, who is one of my running heroes.  The episode (# 136) did not let me down, and Steve must have gotten her on the phone for an interview because he had a ton of voice-over from her, talking about her experience in the 1967 Boston Marathon.  Steve gave great background on women in distance running.  I am such a romantic about this sport that I get chills every time I think about the strides (literally and figuratively) that my female predecessors had to take so that now, the only thing limiting me as a woman who runs is myself. Switzer said two things in the podcast which I remember resonated with me when I read her autobiography, Marathon Woman.  First, she spoke about how as a 12-year old girl, she’d run a mile every day before school, and how much it meant to carry around that small triumph with her the rest of the day. I still feel that way, even as a 30-something woman.  Each run I complete is permanently part of my collection of “Things I’m Proud Of,” and no matter what can never be taken away from me.  The other, more expected thing, Switzer talked about was how her negative experience with Doc Semple (when he tried to take back her bib numbers) galvanized her to finish the marathon for herself, and for all women, to prove it could and should be done.  This makes me think: thank God it was Kathy and not some other (less determined, less visionary) type  of woman who was challenged by the rules.

Both Matt and Steve are running the Boston Marathon a week from Monday.  I am excited for both of them, and wish them the best possible race.  I’ll be there cheering on Boylston Street this year, since I am making the pilgrimage to spectate at the Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials, too.

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