Boston Marathon 2018 Recap: DNFing is Harder Than It Looks

Well, this wasn’t the trip I had planned when I booked it in February. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when I qualified for the Boston Marathon in November 2016. But life is funny, and it’s the trip I ended up having. Here’s the rundown on my trip to Boston to NOT run a marathon – runner’s version.

We landed in Boston Thursday morning and went over to the expo. Let me back it up a bit. About 15 minutes before we were going to board our flight, I realized I had left the one thing I had to bring: my Boston Marathon Passport.

BQ-1

Continue reading “Boston Marathon 2018 Recap: DNFing is Harder Than It Looks”

How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 5: Mindset

“When you make a choice and say ‘come hell or high-water, I am going to be this,’ then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that feels intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that…when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time because it has been [in your mind] the whole time.” — Kobe Bryant

This is the last installment in my series of how an average runner finally — after four plus years and seven marathons — qualified for the Boston Marathon. As I previously wrote, I did three things in one year of working with a trainer that helped me to BQ: changed from heel strike to a midfoot strike; ran less (and did more of everything else); and did speed-hill-agility training. The final piece was mindset.

Continue reading “How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 5: Mindset”

How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 4: Speed

Speed Speed Speed.

Track had been noticeably absent from my marathon training plans for a few years. It seemed to be a main cause for my injuries, so speed training had been relegated to a minor portion of my schedule and was done in the form of tempo runs during the sharpening phase — about 6-8 weeks. Other than that, I stayed off the track and followed the common strategy that increasing mileage would build up my speed. Well, as mentioned in the previous post, I significantly decreased my mileage…so where was the speed going to come from? Yup, it was back to the track. And hills. And speed and agility work. More stuff I had either never done or neglected to do for several years.

Continue reading “How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 4: Speed”

How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 3: Run Less, Do Other Stuff More

This week I read about the Pareto Principle, an axiom that aligns well with the second significant change I made to my training that allowed me to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I had spent three years plateauing at 30-plus minutes away from my qualifying time, so when I turned myself in to a trainer/coach in the fall of 2015, I was finally desperate enough to throw away all my preconceived notions about how one runs a faster marathon. I had spent the last few training cycles relentlessly increasing my mileage; I mean, that’s what you do to improve in an endurance sport, right? Well, my now 48-year old body had other ideas and was becoming chronically injured. Change no. 2 was basically this: Run Less; All the Other Stuff More. In other words, instead of running-running-running with a few stretches and leg strengthening exercises when I had time, I was now going to implement a system comprised of mandatory practices that were not running…and my mileage would be whatever it was going to be. What?!? So here’s the “Other Stuff”.

Continue reading “How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 3: Run Less, Do Other Stuff More”

How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 2: Changing My Foot Strike

As promised in last week’s post, I want to share the four major changes I made to my training that allowed me to take over 30 minutes off my marathon time and catch that unicorn — the BQ. It’s my hope that one of these can help you catch your BQ dream or just improve your running. Let’s go!

So here’s change no. 1: I went from being a heel striker to a midfoot/toe striker.

Continue reading “How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 2: Changing My Foot Strike”

How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 1: A Crazy Idea

“You’ll never be able to do that.”

Those were the words that flew out of my good friend’s mouth when I told him that my goal was to run a sub-4:00 marathon. In his defense, nothing in my running career would indicate I could run that fast, plus it was early morning, and I think he just didn’t have as much brain-to-mouth control. Regardless, his words fueled me. Continue reading “How An Average Runner Qualified for the Boston Marathon Part 1: A Crazy Idea”

2017 Training Week Two – March 27-April 2: The Reckless Runner

Runners can be reckless at times. We run up in the mountains where all sorts of animals and reptiles are hanging out. Some of us run solo in the dark on lonely streets before most of the population wakes up. And some of us really crazy folk will actually try out new socks on marathon day. What?!? Continue reading “2017 Training Week Two – March 27-April 2: The Reckless Runner”

2017 Training Week One – March 20-26: The Miami Vice Solution

For the last five-plus years my race calendar and training schedules have been in place several months (lie: years) in advance. Everything pointed towards The Goal, which was qualifying for Boston (BQ), and my races pretty much followed this schedule:

February – Surf City Half Marathon
April – Hollywood Half Marathon
May – Mountains2Beach Marathon
September – Ventura Marathon
November – Santa Clarita Half Marathon (if I wasn’t too beat up by then)

Basically, two half marathons as a ramp-up to back-to-back marathons, and then a cool-down/end-of-the-year half before I’d go on vacation. Well, this past November, I unexpectedly qualified for Boston. Yes, it was not on the plan. The plan was to run it as an assessment marathon to see where I was, run my two tune-up halfs, and then go for Boston in May at M2B. Qualifying for Boston was AMAZING (yes, all caps!)…and it also through off my entire racing schedule for the first half of 2017. Quality problems, I know. Continue reading “2017 Training Week One – March 20-26: The Miami Vice Solution”

But Where Do You Get Your Protein? A Vegan Athlete Answers

I don’t work at a juice bar.

I am rarely in down-dog pose.

My name doesn’t include an astral object.

And I most definitely don’t look pale and scrawny.

These are just a few of the traditional images people have about vegans. Nope. This vegan looks like this. Continue reading “But Where Do You Get Your Protein? A Vegan Athlete Answers”

Don’t Call It A Comeback

Listening to podcasts has been an effective way to get through a pool running session. If you’ve never pool run, imagine the lack of scenery and fresh air of treadmill running combined with the absence of a runner’s high, and you get the idea of the unique mental challenge that agua jogging presents. One podcast I’ve enjoyed listening to is “High Performance Mindset” hosted by Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, especially one recent episode in which she interviewed Dr. Mustafa Sarkar about his concept of resilience. Dr. Sarkar has done extensive research in this field and worked with many elite athletes, and it’s his position that resilience is not the ability to bounce back from a setback; rather, it is a proactive — rather than reactive — skill. More specifically, Dr. Sarkar’s work posits that resilience is the ability to use personal qualities to withstand stress and to maintain functioning under pressure, thus, there is no setback to come back from. This definition of resilience resonated strongly with me as tomorrow I finally return to running after being sidelined almost five weeks due to a freak injury. Continue reading “Don’t Call It A Comeback”