2022: Marquette Marathon (DNF)

The past 40-ish weeks (especially, the past 16) have been my most consistent training attempt yet. The journey included the usual bounty of help from the family of my friends and the healthcare system, and the hitherto unusual doing many little complementary things well. In turn, the improvements in health and fitness felt very organic. Although the end result was another DNF, the training brought plenty of positives and lessons I can implement moving forward.

Summary of historical lessons

A review of my training log and my best performances at various distances (Table #1a) showed that the equivalent marathon finish time was all over the place. The once rolled/sprained ankle in 2021 June had led to drastically reduced training volume and significantly altered race schedule rest of that calendar year. On the brighter side of things, the healing process associated with that ankle had helped me regain some of the lost perspectives on the joys of running. I was a good patient during that process – running only when prescribed and resuming training as usual in the last week of 2021 October/first week of 2021 November. In light of this time off, I felt a need to incrementally build up my fitness, endurance and confidence without causing any setbacks.

Table #1a: Pre-Foundation Phase Performances (listed in ascending order of distance)
Distance in miles, time in h:mm:ss and pace in m:ss/mile
# Date Event Distance Time (Pace) ≊ Marathon Time (Pace)
01 2020-09-01 2020 Solo Time Trial 1.00 0:05:31 (5:31) 3:06:35 (7:07)
02 2021-10-30 2021 Queen City Trick or Trot 3.11 0:21:08 (6:48) 3:25:03 (7:50)
03 2021-06-26 2021 Hodag Run 6.22 0:46:51 (7:32) 3:39:48 (8:23)
04 2021-11-06 2021 Indianapolis Half Marathon 13.11 1:43:30 (7:53) 3:39:41 (8:23)
05 2020-09-20 2020 Holland Haven Marathon 26.22 3:27:44 (7:55) 3:27:44 (7:55)

I combined many hours of YouTubing, journaling (as in reading peer-reviewed articles published in journals) and friendly discussions with what I had learned from

  1. RRCA Coaching Certification (Level 1) in 2021 September,
  2. US Ski and Snowboard Coaches Development (Level 100) in 2021 October and
  3. USA Track and Field Coaching Education (Level 1) in 2021 December and 2022 June/July.

If YouTubing was a training category, the number of hours in that category alone would dwarf all other categories combined (i.e., biking, hiking, cross country skiing, pre-habbing, running, stretching, strength training, yoga-ing, etc.). These coaching education and certification processes hinted at very many nuances to training than will ever be covered in or learned from any amount of YouTubing.

  1. It’s very difficult to endure the speed that one doesn’t yet possess and speed development takes a considerable amount of time. It’s easier to build the speed from shorter distances to longer ones and it’s easier to hold the pace in a group setting (thank you, friends, pacers and pace groups!).
  2. It’s better to build up to the neighborhood of desired goal marathon pace over a reasonable period of time and then use a marathon-specific training block to fine tune.
  3. It’s ok to miss one or two workouts here and there (or a week or so in longer term training plans) but it’s difficult to make progress when too many workouts are missed OR when the discontinuity extends beyond 2+ weeks.
  4. It’s ok (and often better) to race infrequently, and there exist other ways to be a meaningful part of (local/community) events.
  5. Supplemental activities (e.g., strength training, pre-run mobility, post-run stretch, etc.) and habits (e.g., nutrition, hydration, sleep, etc.) and consistency therein are not optional. Infrequent racing often helps maintain the said consistency in these habits.

The above-listed learnings, findings and summary led to a longer term training plan spanning 40 weeks (i.e., macrocycle) split into two main groups – foundation phase (24 weeks) and marathon phase (16 weeks). The longest long term plan I had previously designed and followed was shortly after the onset of the 2020 global pandemic culminating in the Sunday Lake Marathon. The foundation phase in this plan was adapted from McMillan Running and comprised of four mesocycles (base, hill, speed and stamina) of six weeks each in a mostly linear periodization model. The marathon phase in this plan was adapted from Runner’s World and comprised of four blocks of four weeks each with very little racing along the way.

While the definitions and implementations of the terms – macrocycle and phase – will change in subsequent longer term training plans based on what I learned in coaching education programs but for the purposes of this training plan, they mean as described below.

  1. Microcycle – A period of seven days (one week; mine starts on Monday and ends on Sunday). 10-day microcycles are also prevalent.
  2. Mesocycle – A set of 3-6 micocycles focusing on a specific aspect (e.g., general aerobic or aerobic base or base, hills, speed, stamina, etc.).
  3. Block – A set of 3-4 microcycles (four in my case). The first three micocycles in each block usually incrementally build volume (or intensity) and the fourth microcycle is usually a step back/recovery period to let the body adapt to the training stimulus.
  4. Phase – A set of multiple blocks or mesocycles (e.g., in this case, foundation and marathon, etc.).
  5. Macrocycle – A collection of phases.

A review of running literature some years ago had led me to the training practices of Sara Mae Berman (winner of the 1969-71 Boston Marathons), Joan Benoit Samuelson (winner of the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons, the 1985 Chicago Marathon and Gold medalist in the first ever women’s marathon in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) and Jacqueline Gareau (winner of the 1980 Boston Marathon – unfortunately got Rosie Ruiz’d, the 1984 LA International Marathon and the 1988 Grandma’s Marathon; I couldn’t find an equivalent photo/banner from the BAA). All three of them used (and some still do) cross country skiing in winter months to minimize the impact on joints while adding to their aerobic base and strengthening their upper bodies.

Foundation Phase

I too get to live in a four-season wonderland like the aforementioned first ladies of running. The 24-week foundation phase of the 40-week macrocycle started in late 2021 Fall and ran through all of 2021-22 Winter. So, seasonal variations decided which activity (running or cross country skiing) took precedence over the other. As a result, the prescribed distance (or duration) was only a suggestion – especially once our trails were skiable. My main goals for this phase were as follows:

  1. Improve the fundamentals of cross country skiing.
  2. Ski the Korte and Birkie at the 2022 American Birkebeiner on back to back days.
  3. Integrate supplemental activities and habits into a weekly routine.
Table #2: Foundation Phase Schedule and Compliance
Easy (E) | Hill (H) | LSD (L) | Recovery (R) | Speed (S) | Tempo (T) | VO2Max (V) | Race (R)
Distance in miles and time in h:mm:ss.

Foundation : #01 | #02 | #03 | #04 | #05 | #06 | #07 | #08 | #09 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21 | #22 | #23 | #24
Marathon : #01 | #02 | #03 | #04 | #05 | #06 | #07 | #08 | #09 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Micro
Phase
Macro
01
01
11/29
E 7.00
3.54
3:06:51
-
11/30
E 7.00
3.52
0:30:36
-
12/01
E 10.00
5.03
0:43:33
-
12/02
Rest
-
-
-
12/03
E 7.00
3.55
1:01:03
-
12/04
L 12.00
-
-
-
12/05
Rest
6.31
1:24:32
-
43.00
21.95
6:46:35
0
43.00
21.95
6:46:35
0
43.00
21.95
6:46:35
0
 

Base mesocycle (weeks #01 - #06):
Returning from a long-ish term injury/niggle, I used this mesocycle to regain my confidence in pain-free running. I started at 50% of the prescribed activity duration (or distance) in week #01 and then incremented an additional 10% with each passing week. I noticed more than usual fatigue by the end of week #03 and blood test showed what I needed to work on (thanks, Shannon!). Right around that time, Mother Nature and groomers blessed us with skiable trails, and I shifted my focus to cross country skiing. Formal strength training activities were absent and I partially completed one workout during this mesocycle.

02
02
12/06
E 6.00
3.65
1:15:47
-
12/07
E 6.00
-
1:30:00
-
12/08
E 6.00
3.61
0:31:04
125
12/09
Rest
5.33
1:53:11
183
12/10
E 6.00
-
-
-
12/11
L 10.00
-
-
-
12/12
Rest
8.75
1:30:37
132
34.00
21.34
6:40:39
440
77.00
43.29
13:27:14
440
77.00
43.29
13:27:14
440
03
03
12/13
E 6.00
4.24
2:07:12
-
12/14
E 7.00
7.47
2:20:21
372
12/15
T 10.00
-
-
-
12/16
Rest
5.03
2:45:10
-
12/17
E 7.00
3.14
0:28:26
78
12/18
L 12.00
-
-
-
12/19
Rest
6.45
1:27:20
257
42.00
26.33
9:08:29
707
119.00
69.62
22:35:43
1147
119.00
69.62
22:35:43
1147
04
04
12/20
E 6.00
-
-
-
12/21
E 7.00
3.13
2:24:43
208
12/22
T 12.00
6.40
3:07:26
472
12/23
Rest
3.18
1:07:14
194
12/24
E 7.00
9.41
1:33:32
541
12/25
L 10.00
4.18
0:46:55
562
12/26
Rest
12.70
2:44:42
662
42.00
39.00
11:44:32
2639
161.00
108.62
34:20:15
3786
161.00
108.62
34:20:15
3786
05
05
12/27
E 6.00
6.24
2:15:03
593
12/28
E 7.00
11.40
1:52:48
1087
12/29
T 14.00
6.76
2:20:41
326
12/30
Rest
11.09
2:06:35
986
12/31
E 7.00
2.68
1:49:09
171
01/01
L 12.00
8.44
2:39:10
513
01/02
Rest
9.49
3:20:55
804
46.00
56.10
16:24:21
4480
207.00
164.72
50:44:36
8266
207.00
164.72
50:44:36
8266
06
06
01/03
E 6.00
6.84
1:57:34
340
01/04
E 6.00
6.29
3:11:01
376
01/05
T 14.00
10.05
4:38:26
-
01/06
Rest
-
-
-
01/07
E 6.00
3.26
1:31:53
-
01/08
L 10.00
9.73
2:24:23
644
01/09
Rest
3.13
1:31:37
-
42.00
39.30
15:14:54
1360
249.00
204.02
65:59:30
9626
249.00
204.02
65:59:30
9626
 

W06D06 (2022-01-08) was the SISU Ski Fest (Strava) in Ironwood, MI. After a gap year owing to the pandemic, I got to travel to and be a part of this well-organized and in-person edition with friends. Presence of many more familiar and friendly faces made for a familial and homecoming-like experience. As in previous non-pandemic years, SISU Ski Fest served up a valuable opportunity to live through the preparation of a race week and test the recently acquired skills in a race-like atmosphere. Goals were to use correct form and terrain appropriate technique and not act like a seal getting hunted by a shiver of sharks in an open sea. The result was 1:23:56.7 for a finish time - good for 15/97 overall, 11/57 in gender and 1/3 in AG. A complete recap of this event is here.

07
07
01/10
S 6.00
6.34
2:28:14
-
01/11
E 6.00
8.85
2:54:47
518
01/12
Rest
5.16
3:15:17
298
01/13
H 6.00
6.55
1:59:56
-
01/14
E 6.00
-
0:59:31
-
01/15
L 9.00
19.79
4:03:06
1628
01/16
E 3.00
8.51
2:29:59
479
36.00
55.20
18:10:50
2923
285.00
259.22
84:10:20
12549
285.00
259.22
84:10:20
12549
 

Hill mesocycle (weeks #07 - #12):
The first week of this mesocycle got off to a great start but the next two were spent recovering from an illness. I didn't make enough time for formal strength work or yoga sessions and didn't attempt any of the prescribed structured workouts during this mesocycle.

08
08
01/17
E 7.00
6.18
2:49:49
867
01/18
E 6.00
-
1:30:00
-
01/19
Rest
-
1:00:00
-
01/20
H 6.00
-
1:00:00
-
01/21
E 6.00
-
1:00:00
-
01/22
L 9.00
3.28
1:32:24
-
01/23
Rest
3.38
1:41:07
233
34.00
12.84
10:33:20
1100
319.00
272.06
94:43:40
13649
319.00
272.06
94:43:40
13649
09
09
01/24
S 6.00
-
-
-
01/25
E 6.00
-
-
-
01/26
Rest
-
1:00:00
-
01/27
H 6.00
3.17
1:32:25
193
01/28
E 6.00
18.34
5:31:22
1454
01/29
L 9.00
-
-
-
01/30
Rest
3.28
0:31:34
534
33.00
24.79
8:35:21
2181
352.00
296.85
103:19:01
15830
352.00
296.85
103:19:01
15830
10
10
01/31
E 7.00
22.18
4:08:18
2413
02/01
E 6.00
-
-
-
02/02
Rest
3.13
2:27:45
-
02/03
H 6.00
-
-
-
02/04
E 5.00
3.14
1:59:48
-
02/05
L 7.00
15.46
5:09:39
1254
02/06
Rest
7.64
2:31:50
751
31.00
51.55
16:17:20
4418
383.00
348.40
119:36:21
20248
383.00
348.40
119:36:21
20248
 

W10D06 (2022-02-05) was the Wolf Tracks Rendezvous (Strava) in Minocqua, WI, and W10D07 (2022-02-06) was the North End Classic (Strava) in Cable, WI. I got to participate in these events on back to back days as continued preparation for the Korte-Birkie double on back to back days in week #13. It was fun to travel and reconnect with friends. Knowing friends who call these trail systems home and who do their part in organizing these events have been making them grow on me with each passing year.

Goals were to use correct form and terrain-appropriate technique, implement newer learnings in a race atmosphere, be present in the kilometer I was in and smart/strategic racing with peace. In Minocqua, it led to 2:09:10 for a finish time - good for 4/23 overall, 4/14 in gender and 1/3 in AG. In Cable, same process resulted in 1:01:36 for a finish time - good for 11/40 overall, 9/25 in gender and 1/2 in AG. A complete recap of these events is here.

11
11
02/07
S 6.00
11.89
2:07:01
1598
02/08
E 6.00
6.60
1:50:38
471
02/09
Rest
-
-
-
02/10
H 6.00
3.20
2:36:00
198
02/11
E 6.00
-
1:00:00
-
02/12
L 9.00
16.01
2:20:38
2214
02/13
Rest
14.39
4:00:11
853
33.00
52.09
13:54:28
5334
416.00
400.49
133:30:49
25582
416.00
400.49
133:30:49
25582
 

W11D02 (2022-02-08) was the Citizen's Night Ski Race Series #2 (Strava) at Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton, MI. I started at the end of the pack and skied at a very easy / recovery effort level throughout the 5 km outing. In comparison to what most others did, calling what I did today as a technique might still be comical. But I believe I did what came naturally as the terrain-appropriate technique throughout except when climbing up the Linden Loop - V1 and its timing still require some work. Self-recorded/-reported finish time was 0:21:32.

W11D06 (2022-02-12) was the Pre-Birkie (Strava) in Seeley, WI, and W11D07 (2022-02-13) was the Vasaloppet USA (Strava) in Mora, MN. I got to participate in these events on back to back to days as continued preparation for the Korte-Birkie double on back to back days in week #13. Mother Nature blessed WI-MN events with a rather cold day but added blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Following a pair of kind ladies and mimicking their technique in Pre-Birkie got me past the finish line in 2:20:15 - good for 25/69 overall, 21/51 in gender and 1/4 in AG. Coupling some past and some recent discussions with friends and mentors with terrain appropriate technique and smart, strategic and peaceful racing (and consuming sufficient amount of warm Blueberry soup at aid stations) in Vasaloppet's golden edition led to a finish time of 2:00:09 - good for 43/135 overall, 36/78 gender and 3/8 in AG. Making the AG podium also earned me a long coveted Dala Horse Trophy. A complete recap of these events is here.

12
12
02/14
E 7.00
10.88
3:34:13
1113
02/15
E 6.00
16.78
4:18:13
2271
02/16
Rest
-
-
-
02/17
H 6.00
-
0:30:00
-
02/18
E 6.00
2.81
0:36:08
324
02/19
L 9.00
7.15
2:24:25
684
02/20
Rest
9.78
2:20:32
640
34.00
47.40
13:43:31
5032
450.00
447.89
147:14:20
30614
450.00
447.89
147:14:20
30614
13
13
02/21
S 6.00
-
-
-
02/22
E 6.00
-
-
-
02/23
V 6.00
-
2:45:00
-
02/24
Rest
-
-
-
02/25
E 6.00
17.54
3:21:33
1644
02/26
L 9.00
33.00
6:03:56
3974
02/27
Rest
-
1:00:00
-
33.00
50.54
13:10:29
5618
483.00
498.43
160:24:49
36232
483.00
498.43
160:24:49
36232
 

Speed mesocycle (weeks #13 - #18):
Hills were still the theme of this mesocycle. The final three weeks included some surges/pickups in running and cross country skiing. I didn't make time for formal strength work or yoga sessions, and I didn't attempt any of the prescribed structured workouts during this mesocycle either.

W13D05 (2022-02-25) was the Korte (Strava) and W13D06 (2022-02-26) was the Birkie (Strava) in Cable/Hayward, WI. After a subdued and modified version in 2021, the #BirkieFever made a grand return in Wisconsin's Northwoods for its 48th edition with almost all the usual bells and whistles of a normal year including the legendary Main Street finish. I got to travel, stay, cook, eat, wax, ski, hangout, reconnect with friends and make new ones along the way. #Birkie2022 also provided an opportunity to put the lessons learned over the past several winters into practice on the grandest stage for cross country skiing in our country.

The goal was to ski the Korte and the Birkie on back to back days (and lead a normal life in the days after, sans the real and not so spectacular #BirkieHangover) as a tangible metric of regained fitness and endurance. And do so with correct form, terrain-appropriate technique, situation-appropriate strategy, ease and peace. For the Korte, it resulted in 2:21:00 for a finish time - good for 111/983 overall, 74/549 in gender and 5/37 in my age group. Although my initial plan for Birkie was to race in addition to the previously listed requirements, skiing with ease and peace made more sense. Doing so resulted in 5:18:22 for a finish time - good for 842/1642 overall, 661/1231 in gender and 74/120 in my age group. A complete recap of these events is here.

14
14
02/28
S 6.00
-
-
-
03/01
E 6.00
0.85
1:58:21
53
03/02
V 6.00
3.32
1:31:30
188
03/03
Rest
9.56
1:21:53
546
03/04
E 6.00
6.39
2:35:02
380
03/05
L 9.00
-
1:30:00
-
03/06
Rest
6.25
3:11:10
538
33.00
26.37
12:07:56
1705
516.00
524.80
172:32:45
37937
516.00
524.80
172:32:45
37937
15
15
03/07
S 6.00
5.80
1:03:54
430
03/08
E 6.00
7.73
2:11:01
424
03/09
V 6.00
-
0:45:00
-
03/10
Rest
6.46
2:58:09
358
03/11
E 6.00
-
-
-
03/12
R 6.00
-
-
-
03/13
Rest
-
-
-
30.00
19.99
6:58:04
1212
546.00
544.79
179:30:49
39149
546.00
544.79
179:30:49
39149
16
16
03/14
E 6.00
9.82
2:20:10
663
03/15
E 6.00
13.87
3:01:23
1004
03/16
V 6.00
8.43
1:33:29
350
03/17
Rest
3.30
0:28:34
322
03/18
E 6.00
10.07
1:07:43
574
03/19
L 9.00
7.49
2:29:55
303
03/20
Rest
21.08
3:36:03
1483
33.00
74.06
14:37:17
4699
579.00
618.85
194:08:06
43848
579.00
618.85
194:08:06
43848
17
17
03/21
S 6.00
10.01
2:30:06
669
03/22
E 6.00
9.58
2:03:50
496
03/23
V 6.00
9.57
2:54:40
544
03/24
Rest
10.08
3:33:07
562
03/25
E 6.00
17.83
3:21:37
1277
03/26
L 9.00
15.38
4:33:16
1859
03/27
Rest
6.24
0:59:11
241
33.00
78.69
19:55:47
5648
612.00
697.54
214:03:53
49496
612.00
697.54
214:03:53
49496
18
18
03/28
S 6.00
10.02
2:14:30
584
03/29
E 6.00
2.99
2:01:45
263
03/30
V 6.00
2.11
1:57:47
109
03/31
Rest
3.21
2:29:16
228
04/01
E 6.00
6.59
1:45:25
403
04/02
R 6.00
18.84
2:53:50
2040
04/03
Rest
6.53
1:22:04
299
30.00
50.29
14:44:37
3926
642.00
747.83
228:48:30
53422
642.00
747.83
228:48:30
53422
 

W18D02 (2022-03-29) was the Citizen's Night Ski Race Series #3 (Strava) at Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton, MI. My Mexican ski pants got a face lift (with a Hawaiian shirt and a Cowboy hat) and saw the light of the day for the first time since the finale of this race series in 2018-19 winter. I started in the middle of the pack and skied at a controlled hard effort level throughout the outing. Navigating turns at speed and going downhill almost at speed felt under control - the closest I have come to feeling like Bjorn Daehlie's faint shadow. The self-recorded/-reported finish time was 0:16:45.

The 2021-22 edition of my Ski The Keweenaw project was completed during this week (thanks, Steph!).

19
19
04/04
S 6.00
6.25
1:40:57
318
04/05
E 6.00
-
-
-
04/06
T 6.00
-
-
-
04/07
Rest
-
1:17:42
-
04/08
E 6.00
3.63
1:40:06
126
04/09
L 10.00
14.71
2:51:20
985
04/10
Rest
17.23
3:04:56
850
34.00
41.82
10:35:01
2279
676.00
789.65
239:23:31
55701
676.00
789.65
239:23:31
55701
 

Stamina mesocycle (weeks #19 - #24):
Volume and hills were still the theme of this mesocycle, and occasionally, short to not so short sustained bursts of speed. I wrapped up the cross country skiing season in week #22 and transitioned to running. I made a conscious effort to consistently incorporate supplemental activities - formal strength work, yoga, meditation, etc., and noticed that hydration, nutrition and sleep habits still needed some work.

W19D06 (2022-04-09) was the Easter Bunny Hoppet (Strava) at Swedetown Trails in Calumet, MI. Goal was to start easy and keep it that way while focusing on terrain-appropriate technique throughout. I didn't start easy, and felt very clumsy, uncoordinated, messy, slow and sluggish for the first 8 km. It didn't get a whole lot better afterwards either but stopping twice to shed layers of clothing helped stay cooler. Segments that I normally V2 needed V1, and those I normally V1 needed a lot more effort. I fell a few times for very silly reasons. In hindsight (or even in foresight - since I knew the course), I should have warmed up before the race to make climbing Tiger and navigating Powder house loops in the first 5 km.

20
20
04/11
V 6.00
6.98
2:18:06
161
04/12
E 6.00
12.71
4:34:44
648
04/13
T 6.00
-
2:00:00
-
04/14
Rest
6.53
3:58:58
293
04/15
E 6.00
6.32
3:23:02
438
04/16
L 9.00
15.80
4:25:25
855
04/17
Rest
21.81
3:44:45
1101
33.00
70.15
24:25:00
3496
709.00
859.80
263:48:31
59197
709.00
859.80
263:48:31
59197
21
21
04/18
T 6.00
3.12
0:44:40
132
04/19
E 6.00
9.48
1:33:37
438
04/20
T 6.00
12.62
1:31:12
530
04/21
Rest
-
-
-
04/22
E 6.00
11.53
2:23:02
450
04/23
R 6.00
3.23
3:29:52
333
04/24
Rest
8.06
2:25:16
156
30.00
48.04
12:07:39
2039
739.00
907.84
275:56:10
61236
739.00
907.84
275:56:10
61236
 

W21D06 (2022-04-23) was the SISU Shuffle 5k (Strava) in Hancock, MI. This event helped get some movement on a cold, rainy, foggy and windy day. Started easy and kept it that way through first two miles. Did some landmark-based (light/telephone poles) fartleks over the third mile for a self-recorded/-reported finish time of 0:28:14.

22
22
04/25
E 6.00
-
2:06:00
-
04/26
E 6.00
1.23
2:07:36
59
04/27
T 6.00
8.23
2:09:19
409
04/28
Rest
10.30
3:56:25
400
04/29
E 6.00
6.24
3:18:32
301
04/30
L 9.00
8.03
2:52:23
158
05/01
Rest
3.37
1:34:23
169
33.00
37.40
18:04:38
1496
772.00
945.24
294:00:48
62732
772.00
945.24
294:00:48
62732
23
23
05/02
T 6.00
6.36
1:02:30
395
05/03
E 6.00
-
1:35:08
-
05/04
T 6.00
4.46
2:13:03
336
05/05
Rest
6.23
3:14:50
524
05/06
E 6.00
-
2:00:00
-
05/07
L 10.00
16.87
3:53:06
401
05/08
Rest
3.32
1:45:11
46
34.00
37.24
15:43:48
1702
806.00
982.48
309:44:36
64434
806.00
982.48
309:44:36
64434
 

W23D06 (2022-05-07) was the West End 5k (Strava) in Ishpeming, MI. Started this event - a fundraiser for the Westwood High School Softball Program and timed by my friends at Superior Timing - at an easy effort level and maintained it throughout the beautiful single track trails (at times quite technical) and boardwalks portion. Picked up some pace towards the end for a faster finish. The result was 0:29:19.8 - good for 2/51 overall, 1/18 in gender and 1/4 in AG.

W23D06 (2022-05-07) was also the Dead Carp 20k (Strava) in Marquette, MI. Started this event - a fundraiser for the Camp UPeninsulin organized by my friends at the Queen City Running Company and timed by my friends at Superior Timing - at a comfortable pace during the first half. Following Shannon's suggestion, I ran the second half at a comfortably uncomfortable effort level. Focused on keeping the body loose and mind at ease throughout but didn't earn me the negative split I had expected. Official finish time of 1:36:40.3 was good for 9/74 overall, 7/28 in gender and 2/9 in AG.

I had penned this to be the main experiment to figure out my running fitness. It didn't go completely according to the plan. Not eating anything before the race (I hadn't felt hungry before or at any point during that run), going with what felt easy for the first half (~7:20 min/mile) and unable to pickup the pace over the final 3-4 miles (in other words, improper pacing), etc. were the primary causes. But this was also the first double digit run and first hard-ish running effort since 2021 Indianapolis Half Marathon nearly six months ago. The overall race experience - when viewed through the prism of the latter observation - definitely gave me plenty of confidence and I felt the glass was more than half full.

24
24
05/09
E 7.00
5.10
4:12:43
306
05/10
E 6.00
8.12
3:47:51
127
05/11
T 6.00
3.20
1:37:30
251
05/12
Rest
-
2:00:00
-
05/13
E 6.00
-
0:45:00
-
05/14
R 6.00
14.25
3:58:04
772
05/15
Rest
6.04
2:49:06
399
31.00
36.71
19:10:14
1855
837.00
1019.19
328:54:50
66289
837.00
1019.19
328:54:50
66289

 

Mother Nature tussled between letting Winter go and embracing Spring as the foundation phase drew to a close. My cross country skiing season officially ended in week #22 – leaving me with 2+ weeks to find my running legs. Having run on and off – more off than on but a lot less off compared to a year ago (thanks, Steph!) – during the foundation phase made the transition to running much easier. Once I got over the soreness that follows the first strength work in quite some time, turnover felt a bit easier and heart rate started going down.

In summary, I ran 220+ miles, hiked about 5 miles, cross country skied 1270+ kilometers, prehabbed for 120+ hours, strength trained for 10+ hours and yoga’d for ~20 hours – for a grand total of 1000+ miles, 325+ hours, 65k+ feet of elevation gain, seemingly countless meals and many of them shared with friends – during the foundation phase. In hindsight, I should have made more room and time for running by keeping at least one workout – even if it meant running on the treadmill – to gradually improve the speed over this period.

For the next 16 weeks or so, I believed that all that I had gained in cross country skiing – mostly endurance, aerobic fitness and some upper body strength – would cross over to running, and that I’d be able to add layers of speed moving forward. My commitment to making sustainable habits of little but important supplemental activities – more of hydration, nutrition, meditation, sleep, strength training, yoga and less of Facebooking and YouTubing – had some setbacks and false starts along the way as well. Strava has grander details for each completed activity in this phase, if interested.

Marathon Phase

In an attempt to keep the training consistent and implement the lessons reinforced from further pursuing USA Track and Field Coaching Education (Level 2 with an emphasis on endurance) in 2022 June/July, I signed up for very few races. I found ways to be a part of almost all local/regional events but limited hard racing efforts to Bellin Run in mid-June (the only one that included an overnight stay), Canal Run Half Marathon in mid-July and Queen City Half Marathon in late July.

Table #3: Marathon Phase Schedule and Compliance
Easy (E) | Hill (H) | LSD (L) | Pace (P) | Recovery (R) | Speed (S) | Race (R)
Distance in miles and time in h:mm:ss.

Foundation : #01 | #02 | #03 | #04 | #05 | #06 | #07 | #08 | #09 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21 | #22 | #23 | #24
Marathon : #01 | #02 | #03 | #04 | #05 | #06 | #07 | #08 | #09 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16
Wk Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
Micro
Phase
Macro
01
25
05/16
E 5.00
5.12
3:14:01
270
05/17
E 4.00
4.09
3:29:03
253
05/18
E 6.00
8.78
2:42:22
584
05/19
P 5.00
-
-
-
05/20
Rest
5.02
3:08:41
-
05/21
L 12.00
12.08
2:43:47
407
05/22
R 5.00
5.02
1:54:35
266
37.00
40.11
17:12:29
1780
37.00
40.11
17:12:29
1780
874.00
1059.30
346:07:19
68069
02
26
05/23
E 5.00
5.11
1:46:27
291
05/24
S 9.00
7.39
3:32:54
265
05/25
E 7.00
7.02
1:03:04
110
05/26
P 5.00
5.02
4:08:07
-
05/27
Rest
-
1:30:00
-
05/28
L 14.00
6.84
2:20:23
571
05/29
R 6.00
14.50
4:11:45
352
46.00
45.88
18:32:40
1589
83.00
85.99
35:45:09
3369
920.00
1105.18
364:39:59
69658
 

W26D02-D03 (2022-05-24 - 2022-05-25) was the UP Teaching and Learning Conference and as my good fortune would have it, it was held on the premises of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI. I didn't necessarily use this good fortune to my full advantage and train on the Marquette Marathon course. I carried a little too much baggage for one workout along the course and butchered it. I was a little too late to start the other workout before the rain but completed it in the YMCA.

W26D06 (2022-05-28) was the Back 9 Endurance Run (Strava) in Copper Harbor, MI. It had often been far too easy to get carried away and run lot more than what the plan called for (read: shortage of discipline) in previous training cycles only to find myself in a deeper hole that took weeks to get out of all the while improving the probability of an injury. Scheduled activities for Saturday and Sunday were swapped, and I stuck to my goal of not running more than two laps at this event.

03
27
05/30
E 5.00
8.30
3:09:55
490
05/31
S 9.00
7.82
2:24:03
242
06/01
E 8.00
8.15
3:37:05
233
06/02
P 7.00
7.02
2:20:04
-
06/03
Rest
-
2:08:39
-
06/04
L 16.00
16.32
3:22:16
325
06/05
R 7.00
8.54
4:21:06
740
52.00
56.15
21:23:08
2030
135.00
142.14
57:08:17
5399
972.00
1161.33
386:03:07
71688
04
28
06/06
E 5.00
5.21
2:19:15
281
06/07
S 7.00
7.03
2:21:47
-
06/08
E 9.00
10.65
3:04:52
258
06/09
P 6.00
6.01
3:36:44
88
06/10
E 4.00
-
0:45:00
-
06/11
R 8.00
8.75
2:12:52
181
06/12
Rest
4.40
2:14:12
532
39.00
42.05
16:34:42
1340
174.00
184.19
73:42:59
6739
1011.00
1203.38
402:37:49
73028
 

W28D06 (2022-06-11) was the Bellin Run 10k (Strava) in Green Bay, WI. I chose a real and in-person event instead of a solo time trial. Doing so and doing so for an out of town event provided an opportunity to rehearse the logistics - packing, travel, time zone change, finding appropriate food, etc. Overall, quite happy with how the event went. Finished with 0:42:58 - good for 141/4198 overall, 118/ in gender and 12/173 in age group. More than earning a PR and being within 15 seconds of the prescribed goal time (0:42:42), I was proud of running light and not carrying unwanted mental baggage. Had I done my research well, this too could have been a day trip to Marquette (Hope Starts Here Challenge) instead of an overnight trip to Green Bay, WI. But I got to see Allison, Carrie and Jared, and found a new to me good place to eat!

05
29
06/13
E 5.00
5.06
3:16:42
110
06/14
S 8.00
8.02
2:44:43
-
06/15
E 10.00
10.06
4:01:20
129
06/16
P 6.00
-
1:04:50
-
06/17
Rest
6.46
1:14:17
173
06/18
L 16.00
16.02
3:53:16
405
06/19
R 6.00
6.23
2:20:09
740
51.00
51.85
18:35:17
1557
225.00
236.04
92:18:16
8296
1062.00
1255.23
421:13:06
74585
 

W29D05 (2022-06-17) was the Thatcher Markham Memorial Run 5k (Strava) in Hancock/Houghton, MI. I didn't have a way of comparing the prescribed activity (4 miles at 10kP) in the middle of the week as a solo outing with the modified activity (5k at 5kP) as a real race after a day's rest. Negative splitting was the goal but prevailing winds had other plans on that day. Finished with 0:19:49 - good for 9/108 overall, 8/47 in gender, 1/6 in age group and 1st in the Master's category. More than earning a PR and being 11 seconds ahead of the prescribed goal time (0:20:00), I was again proud of running light and not carrying unwanted mental baggage. Support from our community before/during/after the race was pretty phenomenal and humbling!

06
30
06/20
E 5.00
5.00
2:30:13
116
06/21
H 7.00
7.03
2:36:54
1152
06/22
E 11.00
11.08
4:09:25
302
06/23
P 7.00
7.02
2:59:40
138
06/24
Rest
-
0:30:00
-
06/25
L 18.00
18.16
4:13:31
728
06/26
R 6.00
8.77
4:48:16
836
54.00
57.06
21:47:59
3272
279.00
293.10
114:06:15
11568
1116.00
1312.29
443:01:05
77857
07
31
06/27
E 5.00
7.19
3:07:28
318
06/28
S 8.00
8.08
3:12:34
144
06/29
E 12.00
14.59
2:04:44
223
06/30
P 8.00
11.46
2:47:56
443
07/01
Rest
0.43
1:24:39
46
07/02
L 20.00
20.01
4:26:53
764
07/03
R 5.00
6.25
3:34:30
341
58.00
68.01
20:38:44
2279
337.00
361.11
134:44:59
13847
1174.00
1380.30
463:39:49
80136
 

My boss, being the kind human he is, gave me time off on Wednesday and Thursday to take care of some scheduled car maintenance work in Marquette. As my good fortune would have it (again), the Iron Ore Heritage Trail (a good part of the Marquette Marathon course) runs just 0.25 miles from the said maintenance location. If that was the cake, the dealership offering drop off or pick up service was the cherry on top! So, while the car got serviced, I got to run the final 14.50 miles of the course. And I got to run the final 10 km of the course on Thursday morning before heading back home. I understood that training on any part of the course for an upcoming race is a luxury, and I was very grateful to have had the opportunity to afford it.

08
32
07/04
Rest
5.06
1:54:33
105
07/05
S 6.00
7.80
3:06:28
1447
07/06
E 10.00
11.38
4:26:42
275
07/07
P 5.00
11.64
3:08:40
325
07/08
Rest
5.54
3:27:09
617
07/09
R 15.00
18.04
5:04:48
522
07/10
R 5.00
5.00
8:00:00
-
41.00
64.46
29:08:20
3291
378.00
425.57
163:53:19
17138
1215.00
1444.76
492:48:09
83427
 

The training plan prescribed a half marathon at the end of week #08/32 as a tune-up event. But the Canal Run wasn't until week #09/33. I neither wanted to miss it nor do a solo time trial in week #08/32. After discussing with Stephen and taking lessons from Dr. Brooks (USATF Level 2 Coaching Certification; Sports Sciences section) into account, weeks #08/32 and #09/33 were swapped with some minor alterations.

W32D06-D07 (2022-07-10 and 2022-07-11) was Run The Keweenaw - A Festival of Trails (Mt. Baldy Hill Climb 6k, Copper Harbor Trails Challenge 10k and Carl Olson Memorial Adventure Run 25k) in Eagle Harbor/Copper Harbor, MI. I signed up knowing full well that I'd be a healthy scratch (DNS) as a runner but find other ways (e.g., trail elf, pom pom crew, guy with the camera, traffic control, makeshift aid-station, etc.) to be a part of this fun-filled festival while retaining my training schedule. A representative sample of photos from the event are below and rest of them, including these if interested, are here.

09
33
07/11
E 5.00
5.08
3:30:06
289
07/12
H 9.00
6.54
1:30:03
256
07/13
E 9.00
12.42
4:21:37
368
07/14
P 10.00
5.06
2:14:07
105
07/15
Rest
-
1:00:00
-
07/16
L 22.00
19.79
4:58:32
555
07/17
R 5.00
6.24
2:41:37
325
60.00
55.13
20:16:02
1898
438.00
480.70
184:09:21
19036
1275.00
1499.89
513:04:11
85325
 

W33D06 (2022-07-16) was the Canal Run Half Marathon (Strava) in Hancock, MI. Sub-1:30:00 was the goal for this tune-up race and I had a good pacing plan in place backed by consistently good training. Started the race according to the plan (running by pace) and modified it (running by effort) beyond mile #3 as the temperature and mugginess picked up. Finished with 1:32:41 - good for 4/133 overall, 3/58 in gender and 1/7 in age group. As with Bellin Run (10k) and Thatcher Markham Memorial Run (5k) earlier in the training plan, I was more proud of running light without mental baggage than being within a stone's throw from a new PR (1:32:22 set in 2019 Marquette Half Marathon) or the goal prescribed by the plan (1:30:27).

10
34
07/18
E 5.00
5.06
1:24:33
118
07/19
S 11.00
7.54
1:07:12
85
07/20
E 10.00
8.12
1:27:23
82
07/21
P 6.00
10.04
1:33:34
148
07/22
Rest
-
0:45:00
-
07/23
R 15.00
14.21
2:09:39
180
07/24
R 3.00
-
0:30:00
-
50.00
44.97
8:57:21
613
488.00
525.67
193:06:42
19649
1325.00
1544.86
522:01:32
85938
 

The training plan prescribed another half marathon at the end of week #10/34 as a tune-up event. But the Queen City Half Marathon wasn't until week #11/35 and it shared parts of the Marquette Marathon course. Following the previous discussion with Stephen and taking lessons from Dr. Brooks into account, weeks #10/34 and #11/35 were swapped with some minor alterations.

11
35
07/25
E 5.00
5.10
2:07:37
72
07/26
S 8.00
-
-
-
07/27
R 8.00
12.70
4:09:02
374
07/28
E 10.00
6.02
2:20:24
-
07/29
Rest
4.11
0:50:50
62
07/30
L 20.00
16.29
3:07:49
475
07/31
R 5.00
6.38
2:24:58
52
56.00
50.60
15:00:40
1035
544.00
576.27
208:07:22
20684
1381.00
1595.46
537:02:12
86973
 

W35D06 (2022-07-30) was the Queen City Half Marathon (Strava) in Marquette, MI. Similar to the Canal Run two weekends ago, sub-1:30:00 was the goal for this tune-up race, I had a good pacing plan in place backed by consistently good training, started the race according to the plan (running by pace) and modified it (running by effort) beyond mile #3 as the temperature picked up. I hadn't reviewed the course profile as well as I normally do (specifically, the 2.50-ish mile climb between miles 9 and 11.50).

I ran much of it with ease, peace and discipline, threw myself a pity party for a couple miles along the way, got through and finished with 1:37:29 - good for 29/278 overall, 22/118 in gender, 1/9 in age group and 3/47 in Master's category. While the raw time indicated I was a few stone throws away from a new PR (1:32:22 set in 2019 Marquette Half Marathon) or the goal prescribed by the plan (1:30:27), data from Stryd Power Meter was used as a tangible metric to verify that I had indeed put in the necessary effort and that I was on track.

12
36
08/01
E 5.00
5.08
1:42:24
263
08/02
S 9.00
6.91
2:28:27
-
08/03
E 11.00
8.62
3:46:21
318
08/04
P 6.00
9.58
2:35:26
581
08/05
Rest
3.14
2:15:05
377
08/06
L 20.00
10.35
3:34:40
978
08/07
R 5.00
4.02
1:20:33
148
56.00
47.70
17:42:56
2665
600.00
623.97
225:50:18
23349
1437.00
1643.16
554:45:08
89638
 

Training log (e.g., resting heart rate, heart rate variability and body battery index) showed that I wasn't recovering in time from one workout to another over the past 2-ish weeks. Accumulated fatigue of the marathon training block was the easily visible cause. Accumulated sleep shortage over the same time period was another cause. Over-training (either approaching it or already doing it) was yet another likely cause. So, the typical questions - Did I pick the right plan for me?, Did I understand the plan correctly? or Have I been pushing too far too frequently during this plan? - popped up.

One of the underlying reasons for keeping a detailed training log, reviewing it periodically and getting formal coaching education has been to learn to separate the athlete in me from the coach in me. In other words, learn to distinguish between an excuse and an explanation reasonably well, do so honestly and objectively, and minimize the time between an attempt (a workout or a target race or the entirety of the plan) and its review.

The honest and objective answers to the aforementioned typical questions turned out to mostly yes, mostly yes and no. In hindsight, reviewing the training plan with someone knowledgeable before starting it would have been very beneficial in making the answer to the first question a yes (or find a different and more suitable plan). Also in hindsight, understanding what fast meant in this plan as well as realizing that the plan prescribed a workout by distance or time and that I needed to use whichever (distance or time) came first would have made the answer to the second question a yes.

Training by distance had been (and still is) natural to me and as a result, I had penned down only the distance part of the plan's prescription. Knowing the damage over-training can cause (from prior experiences of my own and that of others) helped not freak out and keep the pride aside. Making the necessary corrections ensured what I had done so far wouldn't be wasted leading up to, on and beyond race day.

13
37
08/08
E 5.00
8.24
3:47:41
249
08/09
H 9.00
8.01
2:43:20
-
08/10
E 10.00
9.12
1:37:40
534
08/11
P 7.00
7.06
2:30:02
210
08/12
Rest
3.13
1:42:30
302
08/13
L 22.00
17.21
3:30:02
705
08/14
R 5.00
6.49
2:30:51
115
58.00
59.26
18:22:06
2115
658.00
683.23
244:12:24
25464
1495.00
1702.42
573:07:14
91753
 

Newest additions to the family of friends (Amy, John, Leilani and Luis) and mentors/coaches (Dave and Kathy) earned during the recently concluded USATF Coaching Certification (Level 2; Endurance) as well as Stephen politely vetoed my original idea for Saturday's spicy LSD run (16 miles at MP sandwiched between 3-mile W/D and 3-mile W/D) and suggested a manageable yet flavorful replacement during our group project. Between an Olympian, two soon to be OTQs and one that has coached many to good success, I figured they knew what they were talking about and it made sense to take heed of their collective experience and wisdom.

W37D06 (2022-08-13) was the Paavo Nurmi Half Marathon (Strava) in Hurley, WI. With modifications to the training plan and knowing that the event is better described by the three Hs - Hills, Heat and Humidity, my primary goal for this event was to put in a HMP-MP effort (data from Stryd Power Meter was used as a tangible metric). Hills and Humidity were still there but Mother Nature blessed the day with a light drizzle and a gentle breeze to remove the other H. The result of a conscious stronger effort during the second half was 1:39:05 for the official finish time - good for 3/47 overall, 2/21 in gender and 2/7 in AG.

14
38
08/15
E 5.00
8.16
3:08:06
512
08/16
S 9.00
9.03
3:54:41
-
08/17
R 8.00
7.42
2:55:59
236
08/18
E 10.00
9.31
2:44:09
565
08/19
Rest
1.45
1:28:07
-
08/20
L 16.00
16.05
3:52:23
174
08/21
R 5.00
3.10
0:38:42
49
53.00
54.52
18:42:07
1536
711.00
737.75
262:54:31
27000
1548.00
1756.94
591:49:21
93289
 

W38D06 (2022-08-20) was the last double digit long run of this training plan. To improve my familiarity with the course - especially the rollers along the Lake and the loop through Presque Isle after the descent on Iron Ore Heritage Trail, I made a last minute decision to make the trip to Marquette. I got to stay in the same hotel I'd be staying for the race and went through the intended routine - the evening before as well as morning of. As it turned out, the point where I got on the course (Kalkaska Road x Iron Ore Heritage Trail) to run the final 15.50-ish miles of this long run was about the same spot where I had officially ended the 2021 edition of Marquette Marathon. Between that DNF attempt and this long run, I felt like I had run the entirety of the course. I felt very fortunate to be able to afford the luxury of training on the course yet again.

W38D07 (2022-08-21) was the Kate & Nick Post-Wedding 5k in Laurium, MI. Lisa, sister of the groom, was the event director and she did a phenomenal job with the logistics: an official RunSignUp platform, meaningful and comprehensive pre-race communication, well-marked course, bibs, t-shirts, transpiring dropped bags from the start to finish, pace car / lead vehicle and more! Calling this fun event an unsanctioned 5k would be a disservice! Started and ran the entirety with Dennis, father of the groom, and final 2.1-ish miles with Beck, sister of the groom. Good company and good conversations made the distance fly by. It did not feel like I put in an 8:30 min/mile effort in what was a very lovely weather for running.

15
39
08/22
E 5.00
8.48
3:11:12
591
08/23
S 6.00
9.11
2:49:01
177
08/24
Rest
5.58
1:30:39
167
08/25
P 5.00
4.09
2:16:11
62
08/26
Rest
6.62
4:22:45
968
08/27
L 12.00
8.19
2:01:37
92
08/28
R 5.00
3.16
0:52:18
230
33.00
45.23
17:03:43
2287
744.00
782.98
279:58:14
29287
1581.00
1802.17
608:53:04
95576
 

Literature search had led me to the historical origins of tapering (thanks, Emil), and Hal had explained its need really well when I trained for the 2018 Chicago Marathon. I have an understanding and appreciation for trusting the process but such an understanding and appreciation didn't usually leave the confines and boundaries of academic endeavors. As the taper period began (weeks #39 and #40), I was confident I'd physically stick to the plan. I needed some help and guidance to figure out a way to trust the process in this athletic endeavor and keep my cranium in the stadium:

What gives one belief or faith that what one have done in training is sufficient to get the goals on race day? and What, if any, does one think about on race day during the race? Every single person I reached out to shared their experience in great detail (THANK YOU!). Their collective wisdom and guidance not only made me look for and find evidence of the said faith/belief in poems, peer-reviewed research articles and my training log but also provided a roadmap to continue building it further in subsequent training blocks.

16
40
08/29
E 5.00
7.16
3:07:23
184
08/30
S 8.00
4.22
1:51:56
95
08/31
Rest
4.06
1:52:01
56
09/01
E 3.00
4.06
3:20:39
66
09/02
E 2.00
-
2:27:41
-
09/03
R 26.20
15.81
3:13:36
345
09/04
Rest
-
-
-
44.20
35.31
15:53:16
746
788.20
818.29
295:51:30
30033
1625.20
1837.48
624:46:20
96322
 

W40D06 (2022-09-03) was the Marquette Marathon (Strava) in Marquette, MI.

 

In summary, I ran 755+ miles, hiked about 60 miles, prehabbed for 110+ hours, strength trained for 25+ hours and yoga-meditationed for ~8 hours – for a grand total of 815+ miles, 295+ hours, 30k+ feet of elevation gain, and seemingly countless meals and many of them shared with friends – during the marathon phase. I completed just about every workout as prescribed and my commitment to more of hydration, nutrition, meditation, sleep, strength training, yoga and less of Facebooking and YouTubing was considerably better that it had ever been before. Strava has grander details for each completed activity in this phase as well, if interested.

Overall summary and eye candies

Table #4: By the numbers
Time in h:mm:ss, distance in miles (and kilometers), time in h:mm:ss and elevation gain in feet (and meters).
# Activity Type
Time
Distance
Elevation Gain
01 Hike 34:49:01 65.85 (106.02) 5485 (1672)
02 Prehab 233:45:00 - -
03 Run 155:45:10 979.81 (1577.49) 31592 (9629)
04 Strength 37:45:33 - -
05 XCC 72:27:07 389.55 (627.18) 35869 (10933)
06 XCS 63:22:00 402.27 (647.65) 23376 (7125)
07 Yoga 26:52:29 - -
  Total 624:46:20 1837.48 (2958.34) 96322 (29359)

Week by week compliance (miles)

Session by session compliance

I wish I had stumbled upon this idea sooner than week #03/27 of the training cycle and not miss any sessions. But I don't always get to pick what I learn and the associated when, where, how, why and from whom.

How This Works For Me: Each planned session (run or strength) is worth one point. A successful completion (as in complete completion) thereof earns me that point. Unless planned ahead of time (24-48 hours) with reason or in some extreme cases (e.g., certifiable sickness), a day's session may not be altered. There is no partial credit (e.g., skipping W/U or W/D or completing only a portion of the workout) and there is no extra credit (e.g., doing two workouts to make up for a previously missed activity).

Activity type by time (hours)

Activity type by distance (miles)

Surface type by distance (miles)

TRIMP zones

A metric more meaningful than traditional raw time spent in different heart rate zones, courtesy of Dr. Christine Brooks while pursuing USA Track and Field Coaching Education in 2022 June/July.

Easy-Hard distance (subjective; miles)

Adapted from Dr. Stephen Seiler's research as detailed in Matt Fitgerald's book, 80/20 Running. I don't catalog moderate intensity activities yet. Easy and Hard are easy enough to designate almost objectively, and it does the job for now.

Companion-Solo distance (miles)

I am very grateful for the company of 92 individuals/groups for 29+% (∼549 of ∼1838 miles) of my journey over the past 40 weeks. Their presence as well as the thoughts, experiences and pearls of wisdom they shared made the distance and the time fly by with ease.

Shoe distance (miles)

Race week(end)

My boss graciously offered time off from work starting Wednesday. I left Houghton around 9 am on Friday after first of the two wellness checks for the day, and the 2-ish hour drive to Marquette was smooth and uneventful. Upon completing the second of the two wellness checks for the day (thanks, Kevin!), I walked over to the pre-race expo at the Superior Dome – a few hundred yards from the Superior Stay Hotel I’d call home for the weekend. After picking up my race packet, I spent a meaningful amount of time walking through the expo, and catching up with friends, and friendly, familial and caring faces.

Checking into the Superior Stay Hotel was smooth and straightforward as it had been during multiple times over the past year for various reasons and twice specifically for marathon training purposes. Bringing my own food helped stay on schedule and avoid potentially longer wait times given the number of out of towners in town for the event. Catching up with Gabe on the way to and in Casa Calabria, and Adam and Jess over an Athletic Brewing brew at the Blackrocks Brewery were the evening’s highlights before calling it a night around 9 pm.

Race day morning came early but after a full night restful sleep. Having practiced this routine just about every day for the past 110 or so days, waking up at 4 am didn’t feel difficult (or in the jovial words of one of my dear friends, dehumanizing). I completed items on my checklist by 5:15 am and walked over to the bussing area. The communal ride took its time but we arrived in Ishpeming by 6:10 am. The next 50 or so minutes of this blessedly windy and cooler morning were spent in the warm and cozy confines of Kevin‘s truck – a luxury that almost none of my fellow racers got to enjoy.

14.82 mi (23.85 km), 1:50:44, 7:28 min/mile (4:38 min/km), 8.04 mph (12.94 kmph)
Garmin Forerunner 955 SolarStryd Power Meter and WP GPX Maps Plugin

Weather conditions
hh:mm, temperature (what was and what it felt like), wind, humidity and sky
Start 07:30, 55/54 F, 12 mph N, 80% humidity, Few clouds
Middle 08:25, 56/55 F, 12 mph N, 75% humidity, Few clouds
End 09:20, 58/57 F, 7 mph N, 71% humidity, Clear sky
Air quality 53, PM2.5

Lap by lap analysis
Goal: 26.22 miles in 3:07:30 (7:09 min/mi or 4:26 min/km)
Distance
mi
Lap Time
m:ss
Lap Elevation
feet
Total Time
h:mm:ss
Total Elevation
feet
Avg Pace
min/mile
Projected
Finish Time

h:mm:ss
Differential
Goal Time

h:mm:ss
1.00 7:38 36 23 0:07:38 36 23 7:37 3:19:42 0:12:12
2.00 7:28 36 16 0:15:06 72 39 7:33 3:17:57 0:10:27
3.00 7:18 10 33 0:22:24 82 72 7:27 3:15:20 0:07:50
4.00 7:07 13 72 0:29:31 95 144 7:22 3:13:09 0:05:39
5.00 7:24 33 30 0:36:55 128 174 7:23 3:13:35 0:06:05
6.00 7:22 62 108 0:44:17 190 282 7:22 3:13:09 0:05:39
7.00 7:19 23 75 0:51:36 213 357 7:22 3:13:09 0:05:39
8.00 7:28 7 0 0:59:04 220 357 7:23 3:13:35 0:06:05
9.00 7:35 16 13 1:06:39 236 370 7:24 3:14:01 0:06:31
10.00 7:40 33 62 1:14:19 269 432 7:25 3:14:28 0:06:58
11.00 7:41 30 56 1:22:00 299 488 7:27 3:15:20 0:07:50
12.00 7:22 0 102 1:29:22 299 590 7:26 3:14:54 0:07:24
13.00 7:16 0 135 1:36:38 299 725 7:25 3:14:28 0:06:58
14.00 7:29 0 135 1:44:07 299 860 7:26 3:14:54 0:07:24
14.82 6:36 0 112 1:50:43 299 972 7:28 3:15:46 0:08:16
The final cumulative time, 1:50:43, may not match the official time (1:50:44.0) owing to rounding errors. Starting my watch a few seconds before the start and stopping it a few seconds after crossing the finish line can be an additional reason for this discrepancy. The overall distance, 14.82 miles, may not match the designated event distance (26.22 miles) owing to idiosyncrasies associated with GPS data collection OR the aforementioned early start/late stop reasons, and in some rare cases, incorrectly measured courses or DNFs. As a result, the cumulative pace and the projected finish time might not match the official values as well.

As planned, the warm-up routine went well and the event started on time. I ran with ease and peace, a smile on my face and according to the plan – starting slow and negative splitting with each passing quarter. Two incidents beyond my control – Close Encounters Of The Weird Kind shortly after 10k and a Detachment Issue in the third quarter – ended my run shortly before the 15-mile mark. The course awareness definitely played a vital role in stopping when I did and getting the necessary help and in stepping off the course with shortest possible walk back to the hotel. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the energy that coaches and student athletes from the Northern Michigan University who volunteered at many, if not all, aid stations and road crossings along the course brought to the day’s proceedings! I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the phenomenal work of the race directors – Derek and Kevin (listed alphabetically) – and their whole team in converting the Marquette Marathon from just a race to a weekend long fun event for the whole family!!

As they were happening, I knew similar incidents had happened to Deena, Meb and Eliud. I just didn’t have the mental wherewithal they did (or still do) to overcome them and still perform as I had imagined. After a quick stop at the finish area to report myself as a DNF, pick up the drop bag and chat with dear friends, I made peace with the day’s proceedings, forgave myself for not digging deep enough and returned home before the fatigue set in.

Lessons moving forward

In spite of the this long and fruitful training block ending in a trip to the Queen City in Ohio from the Queen City in Michigan, there were a lot of positives to feel good about and take forward. I was (and am) very grateful for my family of friends in and around the community that keeps me sane, for my overall good health and wellbeing that affords me the ability to train, and for many other unseen blessings of life. Consistent training would have been nearly impossible without the flexible working schedule my boss provided (and continues to do so). I expect to implement the following lessons learned along the way and on race day in subsequent training blocks:

  1. Retaining a semblance of running (and speed work, even if minimal) throughout our winter months, and sustaining supplemental activities (e.g., strength training, pre-run/ski mobility, post-run/ski stretch, etc.) and habits (e.g., nutrition, hydration, sleep, etc.) .
  2. Reviewing the chosen training plan with someone more knowledgeable, understanding the finer prints and being ok with using time (instead of distance) for prescribed activities.
  3. Continuing to work on things that are under my control and get better at them
    1. Improving course intelligence (either training on the real course or mimicking it locally the best possible way).
    2. Learning to trust the process in athletic endeavors, learning to distinguish between thinking and believing, and learning to have faith and belief in the training as it happens and in hindsight (i.e., on race day).
    3. Improving mental fortitude and physical speed – especially while running solo.

Thanks be to

the rejections and opportunities life has brought my way, event folks (organizers, sponsors, volunteers, timers, law enforcement officials, photographers, fellow participants and spectators), and the family of good friends in and outside of my community for all the unexpected, undeserved and unrewarded acts of kindness and constant encouragement as well as offerings of constructive criticism to improve myself as a human and an athlete. I am eternally grateful to all those who let me train with them, who shared their invaluable experiences with me, who helped keep my mind, body and soul in good health, who helped me stay the course during the training cycle, who continued to teach me the value of work-life balance, and who cheered me on from home or along the course.

 
 

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