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The Build-up Begins Anew + So Many Running Friends To Be Proud Of

October 17, 2011

It has been over two weeks since I updated the blog.  There is a weirdness after a big race and it is kind of an uneasy place for many runners to be.  There is the pride of accomplishment contrasted against the questions about what could have been done differently and how the performance could have been improved.  There is the exhaustion, physical and mental, from both the race and the months of training that led up to it, that really calls for a break in training to allow for proper recovery.  But the enthusiasm for working towards the next goal is already bubbling up and it gets really hard to just do so little.

For my first week after the race, I did some nice but relatively short daily hikes and just a single easy run of 3 miles.  But after 7 days of being largely sedentary (by runner standards, at least), I was ready to get back at it.  Knowing that it would be pretty dumb to put in any long or strenuous efforts just yet, I calmed my nerves and stretched my legs with 46 easy miles over the second week, including time to catch up with friends on some of my favorite trails around town.

Today, 16 days since the marathon, was my first “real” workout back.  I still love the treadmill and got in a solid 90-minute effort.  [For those into the actual workout, I set a program to alternate 3 minutes at 0% incline, 3 minutes at 2% incline for 90 minutes.  First 30 minutes easy, around 10 min/mile pace, then 15 minutes at 8 min/mile, 30 minutes at 7:24/mile, finishing with 15 minutes easy, for a total of 45 minutes easy, 45 minutes at solid pace, totaling a bit over 10 miles.]  It certainly wasn’t an epic session but it felt good to get some harder running in.  Other than a mystery bump causing some pain on the bottom of my right foot, everything felt pretty good.

The plan for the next couple of months is going to remain flexible but the general idea is to get my mileage back up to have a peak week or two in the 80-90 miles/week range before tapering for the December 10th 50-mile race.  I imagine I’ll try to get at least one workout a week with some real intensity in it but I’m more focused on getting the base back up, staying healthy, and regaining some of the strength I’ve likely lost in recent months.  I’m also looking forward to splitting time on the trails and roads with friends and enjoying to cooler weather, running whatever looks good on any given day, expecting that 2-a-days will be somewhat common this fall.


Over the last year or two I’ve seen friends from all corners of my life get into running.  It is really exciting to see them set goals and step up to greater distances and/or greater performances in training and racing.  A huge congratulations to you all, with special mentions to the following:

David Jacobs, who started running just 8 months ago, recently ran his first 26.2 at the Chicago Marathon, coming in under his target time and claiming to enjoy the entire experience (which must mean he has a lot more speedy results ahead of him).   As with so much he has accomplished, I’m duly impressed.  Here’s what Dave looks like, though in real life his head is bigger:

David Jacobs

Matt and Jessica Carter are tearing through half marathons together across the upper Midwest, with fantastic results and the absolute bare minimum of gear and maximum of improvement.  Matt does most of his increasingly speedy running shoe-less and Jessica seems to set a new PR each with each new race start.  Matt and Jess, as always, being cool without trying:

The Halwes/Chopp Clan – an entire family of something close to 10 people with spouses and the like,  most fairly new to running, ran a half marathon together yesterday in Detroit.  Jen Halwes has been logging the miles for quite a while now but how cool is it that the whole family- including husband Shawn –  got into it this time?  Good job to all of you and I hope to be able to get some running in together with your whole group sometime soon.  Most of the group:

Josh Wallach is also new to running but is quickly approaching his first half marathon on 10/23, with an eye towards his first full marathon April 15th (St. Louis) and, possibly his SECOND full marathon on June 24th (Kona).  Another guy who started with just a mile or two and in a matter of months is knocking out 10 miles in training with energy to spare.  With his determination and dedicated training, I wouldn’t be surprised if he runs his marathon next April at a faster pace than his half next weekend.  Maybe not current, buy an undeniably awesome pic of Josh:

Brian Rockette has been nice enough to join me on a couple runs during my visits to St. Louis over the last year.  He’s fast and getting faster and it was especially nice to have him along during part of a quite warm 20-miler some months back. Though he was sidelined with injury and missed the Chicago Marathon this year, I fully expect to see him back out soon…and knocking down my PRs at any distance he chooses to race.  Brian, you keep running and I’ll be sure to keep chasing.  Yeah, Brian pretty much looks this good in every one of his FB photos so I just selected this basically at random for the backdrop:

And for the more veteran runners in my life – Andres Capra, Olga Varlamova, Richard Letsinger, Steve Levine, pretty much everyone who lives in Boulder – thank you for keeping me inspired.  I won’t likely ever crank out sets of 30 pull-ups and 80 push-ups between 5:30 mile repeats like Andres or run (and often win) 100-milers every few months as Olga has been known to do or win my age group in virtually every race I enter like Richard or be able to smash 2-a-days of hard training after after 16 hours of partying like Steve or run sub-2:30 marathons like pretty much every guy I hung out with in Boulder but hearing about (and seeing) those kind of efforts push me to see what I can do.  As do the somewhat slower but no less hard-earned finishes by many of the others I’ve just mentioned.

So to all of you, thanks and keep it up.

Steve at Austin 70.3:

Olga’s most recent transformation:

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