Tuesday, February 12, 2013

January, Hokas, and Myrtle Beach Marathon

2013 is apparently running on fast forward.

Somehow we’re almost halfway through February, and it barely feels like the new year got started.  Stepped up training has swallowed up my calendar, and the days are just flying by.  A little too fast for my taste, but there’s definitely not time to get bored.

January marked the beginning of my first-ever triathlon training cycle, and it has definitely been tiring, but overall I consider it successful thus far.  I’m still a little too run-heavy on my plan, but that is by design with a marathon that is now just 5 days away.  Twice-a-day training is not easy to schedule, but I didn’t really expect it to be.  Here’s where I ended up for the month of January:

Running – 19 runs, 178 miles
Cycling – 9 rides, 188 miles (2 outdoors, 7 trainer – lousy weather)
Swimming – 7 swims, 5 miles
Lifting (upper body, core) – 8 trips to the gym

Running continues to go well, with a couple of nagging minor injuries, but generally overall good health.  Bad weather meant more trainer rides than I would have liked on the bike, but I expect to get outdoors more as the weather improves.  I really like riding the bike outdoors, and enjoy speed entirely too much.  Swimming is getting better, but still not great.  I need to work on my stroke and building my lung capacity.  Or else grow fins and gills.  I’m open to either approach.

In my continuing tinkering with my footwear, after much research I added a pair of Hoka Bondi B shoes to the rotation.  I’ve only worn them on one 10-mile run so far, but I was very impressed with the maiden voyage.

There really was no break-in with these shoes.  They are designed for ultra-cushioning, and they deliver.  Despite the maximum cushioning, I still put a part of Superfeet Green insoles in them, and they felt great.  I’m planning to make these primarily my devoted long-run shoes, so they won’t get a lot of use in terms of volume of runs, but they will get a lot of miles.  I’ll keep providing updates as I get more experience with them, but first impressions are VERY promising.  Unfortunately these shoes come with a non-trivial price tag, so I’m also curious to see how well they hold up.  If I’m only getting 300-400 miles out of these like most of my other shoes, then I don’t know that the ROI will be worth it.  We shall see.

This coming Saturday I’ll be lacing up the shoes for the Myrtle Beach Marathon.  I’ve tried to maintain a fairly heavy marathon-training plan within the triathlon training I’ve started, and I think it has worked fairly well.  The obvious test will come Saturday when I see how my legs respond.  I’m tapering this week, with only 2 runs, no bike rides, and primarily just focusing on swimming.  I’m not entirely sure of my strategy yet for the marathon.  I ran two marathons, and 50k, and a 50-miler last year, but didn’t really ‘race’ any of them.  I haven’t ‘raced’ a marathon since the Marine Corps in the Fall of 2011.  I’d like to give it a go this weekend, and see if I can’t pull a PR.  I’ve been nursing a minor groin strain for a couple months, that some days doesn’t factor at all, and other days really starts talking to me at around the 10-mile mark.  Right now I’m leaning towards starting out the race with the 3:35 pace group, and just seeing how I feel.  If things feel good, I’m going to see if I can hang with that pace for the whole run.  This race will have a few new twists for me:
  • No support team – my family won’t be making this trip, so I’ll be running this one solo.  Two good friends of mine will be running the half, and I’ll be staying with them for the weekend, but I’ll be on my own once the gun goes off.
  • No Fuel Belt – I’ve always run with my own drinks, gels, etc., and my family has helped me swap out my fuel during the race.  This time I’ll be relying on the fuel stations to get me through.  I’ll carry two Gu with me, and that’s all.  Will feel a bit naked out there, but we’ll see how it goes.  I’ve learned that I require a lot less food and drink during races than I used to think, so I’m not too concerned about this as long as it’s not freakishly hot.
  • No tunes – iPods are prohibited for this race, so no motivational music for me.  I usually try to run the first half of races with no music, and fire up the iPod for the second half, so I don’t think this will be a big deal.  Would have liked to have had the option, however.

Looking forward to the weekend, and looking forward to reworking my training plan post-marathon to more evenly work on the three disciplines.  Still need to sign up for some shorter triathlons between now and the 70.3.  Also need to win the lottery.


  1. Have fun this weekend! I always like an iPod just as a safety net but in a marathon there are likely enough sights around to distract you!

  2. Good luck with the marathon this weekend!!!

  3. Good luck this weekend and have fun!!

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like time is flying by. Happy to hear the insoles are working out, I had a pair of custom insoles made by my chiro. He said it would take about 3 months to break them in, back in October that sounded nuts, but now that it's February, they seem to be working. Good luck this weekend!!

  5. Good luck this weekend - hope you have a great race. LIke your strategy - like you I'm racing a lot "lighter" than I used to. Amazing how many gels I used to take with me.

    It will be interesting to see how the cross training affects your marathon. And then I guess your training will be a bit more straight forward afterwards? Although, like I've said before, I did find triathlon training challenging year round.

  6. Stopping by, new to your blog :)
    i have no idea how we're in the middle of feb. either..
    what a fantastic running month you had in January!