Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Semper (freaking) Fi - Marine Corps Marathon

Enough with the ‘TBD’ in the list of upcoming races.  Time to get serious about running again.

As of 12:03 Eastern today I am officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30th.  Oo-rah!  Game face on?  You bet:
The Eye of the ..... Lemur?

This one has been on my to-do list long before I ever got serious about the possibility of running a marathon.  I grew up in a military family (Navy), spent the bulk of my youth living in the suburbs of DC, and have always felt the pull of this race.  The two marathons I’ve run have both been smaller affairs (less than 3,000 runners), and I want the experience of a big ‘event’ race.  I’m only planning to do one marathon this year, and this is the one.

Last marathon I kept my goals to myself until the last minute, but not this time.  I’m putting them out there for the blogging world to see, and counting on my blog friends for virtual accountability and kicks in the ass as I move through my training:

    Marathon 1 (3/21/10):  4:14:07

       Marathon 2 (11/14/10):  3:54:22

         Marathon 3 Goal (10/30/11):  3:34:00

Yep – I want to cut another 20 minutes off my PR.  By my calculation that’s an 8:09 pace (yikes), so I’ve got a lot of work to do.  Gotta stay healthy ….. gotta stay healthy …. gotta stay healthy.

As of this past Sunday I’ve already started ‘training’.  For my last race I used the training plan from, and I was generally happy with the results.  I did get injured in the last 2 weeks of training, but I think I know what lead to that injury.  This time around I’m going back to, but in addition to the 17 week training plan, I’m also doing the 19-week ‘mileage buildup schedule’, for a total of 36 weeks of training, which started 4 days ago.  Here’s the buildup schedule:
Click to Enlarge

I’m planning to follow this pretty much as-is.  I’d like to add a half-marathon around the time this 19-week plan finishes, but that’s July in the South, so the options are VERY limited.  If anyone has any suggestions for a June/July/early August half-marathon reasonably close to Raleigh North Carolina please let me know.

The marathon training schedule looks like this:
Again ... Click to Enlarge (that's what she said)
Last time I followed this exactly as written, including a longest long-run of 23 miles.  I think this was a major contributor to my injury.  I didn’t get hurt on that run, but I think it pushed me to the point where I was primed for an injury, and wasn’t able to effectively recover from that run while still following the training plan.  This time around none of my long runs will exceed 20 miles.  I’ll also be focusing on slowing down during these long runs.  I worked on revising my stride to be more mid-foot during my last training, but I’ve found that I have a hard time slowing down while maintaining this new form.  When I try to slow down, I revert to a heel strike.  I’m trying to solve this riddle during the buildup plan so I can do a better job with this during the race training.  I run my long runs too close to my marathon pace, and it stresses my sadly fragile body too much.

The other thing that contributed to my injury was not sticking with lower-body weight training during race training.  For whatever reason, my right leg get out-of-balance strength-wise when I run regularly.  I knew this from M1, knew I should be lifting legs during M2 training, but I didn’t stick with it, and I paid the price.  This time, in addition to periodic lunges and hip PT exercises, I WILL lift legs at least once a week for the full 36 weeks.  No excuse for not doing it.  I’ll be tracking that on the blog as well, and encourage abundant virtual abuse if I start slacking.

I need to drop some weight that I accumulated while broken-down after the last race, and I’ve started working on that as well.  Carrying even a little extra weight makes my knees and feet unhappy while training.

Feels good to be back on a plan, and running with a purpose, even if the race is a long way in the distance.  This should be fun.


  1. 20 minutes! Holy $hit, that's what she said......... You can do it Waterboy........

  2. 20 minutes? piece of cake! as Emz would say, "You've Freakin' Got This!" Best of luck =)

  3. Just came across your blog, I'm your newest follower!!! Shewww 20 minutes is can do it!

  4. That is awesome! I hope your training goes well.

  5. @Christie - thanks for following. Welcome to the party, and thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Awesome! I so badly want to run this race buut I'm in the lottery for NYC (which I've dreamt about since childhood) and I just know that God is going to reward my running hiatus due to carrying my baby with a NYCM lottery win. Okay I don't *know*, but I'm hoping, and hence why I'm not signing up for MCM this year.

    But that is an awesome goal! Hope you stay healthy! 8:09...whew, not easy! Rock on! (and loving the cartoon. Emz is awesome.)

  7. You will have a great time! I have done Marine Corps twice now and it is a great race.

  8. Good for you. I think getting that nice long base building in is very smart, as is the weight training. Make those 20 minutes disappear!

  9. I took the last 60 days of training and I predict with near certainty you'll hit the wall shortly after 15 miles. Its not that you won't finish (or even miss your goal), but you won't feel good doing it and you won't do as well as you could.

    you can choose two ways to circumvent this:
    one - run the marathon 20% slower than your training pace. OR
    two - figure out how to run 520 miles in those 60 days.

  10. 7 boxes of girlscout cookies = a colon clogging ton, I'm sure.

  11. Love it! 20 minutes is a serious goal but you have a great plan - you'll do it!

  12. That looks like a great marathon, one I've looked at longingly. I'm sure with your planning you'll make it to the starting line healthy and the finish line goal in hand.
    I found switching to a midfoot took quite a bit of time. When you slow down it helps to really shorten your stride. Good luck!

  13. 20 more minutes? Daaaayum! Don't get me wrong, it can be done, but .... DAAAAAAYUM!!!!!

  14. I'm rooting for ya.. The Marine Corps Marathon is going to be my first Marathon but not until 2012.

    You can so PR.. Just stay focused and train smart.

  15. That's supposed to be an awesome marathon, and I have no doubt you'll meet your goals. Good luck with training!

  16. you're not messin around... i'm with you though... i have to make twenty minutes magically disappear too.
    i applaud your 426 week training plan, i mean 36 week... :) i know you'll demolish it - let the fun begin!

    and you're drawings are getting better and better...

  17. I like it!!! Don't forget to stay healthy, ok!?!


    You are going to love the energy of that race. That alone with be a 20 sec per mile gift.

    Regarding keeping a quick cadence while at a slower pace...consider buying a small clip on metronome, set it to 180, and use it during your long slow runs. You will feel like it's baby steps, but it's NOT. I measured them once. My baby steps were actually 3 feet!

  19. MCM is an AWESOME choice! amazing and fast course, insane crowds, well-organized, great city...i could go on and on! i think the base building phase and the weight training are smart and if you stick to the plan that PR will be yours!

  20. ♪♫ Who want to wear that smokey bear? Who wants to be a D.I.? ♪♫ Ok I don't know the US cadences ... but you get the point.

    Good luck grasshopper!

    Lots of rest in week 18 - slacker.

  21. Go 20!! You can totally do it. And maybe we can have a little healthy competition cux I have a few lbs I'd like to shed too!

    Good luck with the training!

  22. Sounds like you have a great plan and know exactly what you need to do to achieve that 20 min PR!! You will totally do it!

  23. Hey...I signed up for MCM, too. Still doubting whether I can actually run 26.2 miles or not. Did you see the elevation chart. What were they thinking putting a hill at mile 26. That's just cruel.

  24. I have not had the Cappucino Stout although if it's Lagunitas it should be good. That looks like a "sharing" beer or at least a "I will not be operating heavy equipment for the rest of the day" beer.

  25. Sweeeeet. Half of meeting goals is setting them, so by my count you're 130% there. It looks like you have a solid training plan laid out!

  26. oooooh I heart training programs! glad you did some reflecting and realized that the 23 did you more harm than good. I know my 22 caused me to still have dead legs once race day came around. At least if we're going to eff up in training we can use it as knowledge the next go around.

    So our first marathon times were about the same (mine was faster... not to brag... :p) So now I'll chase your #2 time for Fargo. And then when you nail MCM time I'll chase that down for my BQ. Ready, set break!