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Marathon #19 in the “run a marathon in each of the 50 states” is done. I completed #19 in Newport, Rhode Island yesterday. The course was beautiful, the day was perfect, the volunteers were great, and my performance sucked. I finished in 5:13:36 – not my worst marathon, but no where near the 4:45:00 I was hoping for.
While my running base is great, I made three mistakes. I flew across the country from San Francisco to Boston on Thursday and sat hunched over my computer the entire flight. When I woke up Friday morning my upper back and neck were killing me. They settled down by Sunday morning when I woke up, but I was physically tense. Next, while I ate right on Friday and Saturday, I don’t think I ate enough. When I woke up Sunday morning I was hungry – never a great sign before a marathon. I had a normal breakfast (about 500 calories), but I only ate about an hour before the run so I don’t feel like it got stored up properly. Finally, the course only had water the first eight miles and then only every other mile – gatorade didn’t appear until mile 8. I ended up dehydrated and underfueled.
The race looped back to the starting line for the finish of the half marathon. I saw Amy at 13.1 miles and she jogged with me a little. Even though I went through the half at 2:24, I knew I was in trouble. When Amy asked how I was doing, I said something like “I’ve got nothing in my legs – it’s going to be a long 13 miles.” Fortunately, I’ve been there before and know that I can run 13 miles when I’ve got nothing in the tank, so I just soldiered on.
If you look at my mile splits on RunKeeper, you can see the great fade begin around mile 16. I was between 10:30 and 11:30 until mile 16 at which point my pace shifted to around 13:00 per mile. I was able to hold that pace, with a 12:00, a 12:22, and an 11:28 at the end, but that’s because I was working hard with my new friend Puck who paced me in (or I paced him – I don’t remember) for the last few miles.
My friend Warren Katz finished his first marathon (at age 47) and his wife Ilana cranked out a PR for a half in 2:00. It was a huge marathon weekend – my partner Ryan McIntyre ran Amsterdam with Lindel Eakman (one of our investors – his first marathon) and my partner Jason Mendelson did the Amsterdam half marathon (his first, after having major hip surgery a year and a half ago). As a bonus, Ryan’s wife Katherine ran the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon. Way to go gang!
On Sunday I’m going to run the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon with my friend Matt Shobe (now at BigDoor; was one of the co-founders of FeedBurner). Matt paced me through the Huntsville, AL several years ago and is a great marathon partner. This is the first time I’m doing a marathon on back to back weekends. While I’m crisscrossing the country again this week (New York today and tomorrow, then San Francisco Wednesday through Friday before heading to St. Louis), I feel pretty good “the day after.” I’m in a mild state of disbelief that I’m going to do this again in six days, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it feels.
Once again my sherpa Amy was amazing. She’s got an awesome blog post up with some beautiful pictures of Newport and the marathon.
A few years ago my running coach – Gary Ditsch of Endurance Base Camp – introduced me to the idea of a “double long run.” In this I do the typical weekend long run on a Saturday and then repeat it on Sunday. At first, I hated these, but they’ve grown on me and are now my favorite run.
Today I did a 16 mile run in San Francisco that followed a 14 mile run on Saturday. I did the same run (Market to Embarcadero to the Golden Gate bridge, over, and then back) but added on an extra mile on the bridge today just because I felt like it. I think this is the furthest double long I’ve done (30 miles) – I know I’ve done some in the low to mid 20′s, but I felt like I broke through to a new level today.
I also covered 45 miles this week. This is the first week I’ve done 45 miles in a decade and remarkably it was only on four days of running (I usually run five days a week, sometimes six). I had two early morning flights (to Kansas City on Tuesday, back home on Wednesday) and didn’t run either day. I also had a rest day on Friday. So, I’m closing in on 50 miles a week, which feels great.
I’m gearing up for back to back weekend marathons in October – Newport, Rhode Island on 10/16 and then St. Louis on 10/23. I was a little nervous about my ability to get these done, but my rapid recovery from the Bismarck marathon two weeks ago and the monster week I just did has me feeling good.
For all of you out there supporting my running, especially Amy, thank you!
Marathon #18 – the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon – has been conquered. My goal was to do it under 5 hours – I finished in 4:54:48. It was a small marathon – I finished #100 (out of 124) marathons, #1 (out of 1) for 45 year olds, but #10 (out of 10) for the 45-49 age group. So I got both first and last place on age, depending how you slice it (kind of like how investment bankers do their league tables.) RunKeeper Live worked remarkably well – Amy, my coach Gary, and whomever wanted to track my progress could in real time – and my iPhone still had 60% of its battery left when I finished.
This was my third marathon this year – the other two were Cincinnati (5:24:45) at the beginning of May and Madison (4:47:27) at the end of May. I had two great months of running over the summer in Europe, with my best month in a decade in Italy. I weighed in a little heavy (213) for this marathon – I’ll blame it on two months of amazing French and Italian food – but felt totally comfortable with the race. If I stay on track for the year, I’ll knock off six marathons, and my upcoming goals are 4:45 for Providence, finish St. Louis (the following week – no time goal), and 4:30 for Philadelphia a month later.
I’ve been to North Dakota once that I can remember – a trip out to Fargo to visit Great Plains Software (before Microsoft bought them). It was in December and brutally cold. Bismarck in September was better (50′s), but it rained all day Friday and during the race on Saturday. We stayed in a very simple hotel that was recommended by the marathon. It was fine, but only one wifi device could be connected at a time (and we had five, so there was plenty of AT&T traffic from our room). The restaurant scene was shopping malls and chains – we ended up having profoundly mediocre meals driven by ordering off of plastic menus.
The flooding resulted in a change to a new course. This course was two loops – starting in a nice little park, looping at St. Mary’s University, with most of the course back and forth on a boring highway with a one mile hill (200 ft.) tossed in the middle. Overall it was a really dull marathon, although the people on the course were incredibly nice and helpful. All the water stops were staffed and they occurred about every mile. There was no food, but one person was handing out Jolly Ranchers so I managed to pick up four of them (ahem – two loops on the same road). The combination of the steady rain and lack of scenery made me very happy I had my iPhone with me. I was powered by Girl Talk, Mumford & Sons, the Decemberists, and Lady Gaga.
My sherpa (Amy) was once again awesome, including taking some great photos which are up on her blog. I love doing marathon trips with her – it’s always such a relief to have her waiting at the finish line for me. We were going to stick around and see Bismarck on Sunday, but after realizing we’d already seen it on Friday and Saturday after the marathon, we decided to head home a day early. Sushi on Pearl Street tonight – and no plastic menus.
Over the weekend I read Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America written by Marshall Ulrich. Ulrich is one of the most amazing ultra-distance runners in the history of man and turns out to be a great story teller as well. I founding his book to be riveting and subsequently downloaded the movie about the run across America that he did called Running America 08.
The movie was dynamite. The run across America took place between September 2008 and finished (coincidentally) on November 4th, 2008. There were three stories woven together in the movie: (1) Marshall’s success effort to run across America, (2) Charlie Engle’s unsuccessful effort, and (3) a backdrop of interviews with American’s all across the country during the time of the run.
In Marshall’s book, there was plenty of discussion about the original partnership between Marshall and Charlie which led to the join effort to run across America in world record time. However, Charlie stopped a third of the way through due to injuries and some drama ensued, which wasn’t covered in the movie but was reasonably well explained in the book. All of this just added to the remarkable feat of accomplishment by Marshall Ulrich.
I’ve been running a lot in Europe this summer and am starting to feel another level of base building. My friend, and CEO of SendGrid Jim Franklin did the Leadville 100 this weekend and another friend just asked if I want to do a 50 miler with her in the spring of 2012. I’m also thinking about spending a month running the Colorado Trail next summer. First up however are four marathons in September and October.
I love running and reading about amazing running accomplishments. It’s even more inspiring to realize that I’m not washed up at 45 as many of the great ultra-runners are cranking well into their 50′s and 60′s.
It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done. Marathon #16 was the Cincinnati Flying Pig and was the first marathon I’ve done in over a year. My march toward a marathon in every state continues. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing in the photo below, but the medal proves I finished the marathon.
I’ve had a good month of training and expected I’d break five hours. My goal was to do 11:30′s for the first half and then pick it up for the second half and come in between 4:50 and 5:00.
Things started off pretty crummy. There was a light rain and I had trouble getting warmed up during the first few miles. I had a fierce headache and seriously considered dropping out around mile 5. I took my hat off to wipe my hair back and my headache miraculously disappeared. I looked inside the hat and realized the fabric had bunched up from the rain (it was a new baseball cap) and was pressing on my right temple. I ditched the hat and immediately felt better.
Miles 6 to 9 were a solid uphill climb. I like hills so it didn’t bother me much but at some point I felt like I was in an Escher print. I sped up a little in mile 10 but forced myself to slow down to stay on plan.
My plan worked fine for the first 13 miles and I went through the half way point at 2:33. I tried to pick it up a gear but had nothing in my legs. Aerobically I was fine – my heart rate never got above 160 – but my legs were just dead. Miles 14 to 20 basically sucked. I just slogged through them at a 12 to 13:30 pace. I had input / output problems by this point – I ended up with seven pee breaks along the course. I don’t really remember much of the last six miles, although by 24 I knew I had it in the bag and somehow managed to speed up a little.
I finished in 5:24:45 – a very slow marathon for me. But I crossed the finish line which is all I was really focused on.
Amy and I had a fun weekend in Cincinnati. The Flying Pig is a big festival so there was plenty of great marathon energy around town. My coach Gary Ditsch came up to see me run and we had dinner the night before with him and his wife Nikki. I had ice cream at Graeter’s every night, stayed in the classic Hilton Netherland, had Skyline Chili, and watched Atlas Shrugged in the old style Empire Theater. While the marathon was a struggle and I eventually got tired of the pig puns, our adventure across America continued with a satisfying and successful weekend in Cincinnati.