Cim race report part ii_ the marathon of recaps continues — ironmadman

Training for an endurance race is kind of like parenting an infant. Griffith park horseback riding You show up, day in and day out. Griffith park christmas Workout after workout. Griffith park at night Rain or sunshine. The reward? Nothing discernible for weeks…or months. That smile you think you saw on your baby’s face directed just for you? That was probably gas. Griffith park view You begin to wonder whether you’re making a difference. Hollywood sign griffith park Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you notice a subtle change. Pony rides at griffith park You’re seeing responses, adaptations. Pony rides griffith park Growth. Griffith park museum And then it’s back to prolonged periods of what seems to be…nothing. The old zoo griffith park Just the monotony of the day-to-day grind. Griffith park california “Will this child ever love me?!” I’ve definitely had those frustrating thoughts many times the last 18 months with Audra. Griffith park hours Similarly, I wondered after months of slow, easy runs nowhere near a Boston Marathon-qualifying time, “How in the heck am I going to run 60-90 seconds faster for 26 freaking miles?!”

This past weekend at the California International Marathon, all the consistent, unglamorous training paid off. History of griffith park Not only did I hit my goal pace for 26.2 miles, I beat it. Griffith national park Of course, my marathon wound up being *26.3* miles, but that’s the story you already know from yesterday’s post.

This entry is for runners of all types trying to grow in their own way, whether you’re running your first 5k, considering a Boston Marathon qualification attempt, or a seasoned elite runner already.

Training Regimen: After researching a few options, I purchased a personalized marathon plan from MacMillan Running. Griffith park observatory los angeles I had a few people I trust review the plan, and they agreed it was on point. Haunted table 29 at griffith park los angeles ca The occasional email check-ins by assistant coach and Olympic athlete Andrew Lemoncello exceeded my expectations. Griffith park sunset This wasn’t a cookie-cutter plan devoid of personal attention. Griffith park parking lot Combined with the strategic approach, accessible workouts and positive reinforcement, I would recommend a MacMillan personalized plan for people not seeking hands-on daily coaching but rather a plan to guide their training.

I do prefer more frequent interaction though when I’m seriously training for a race. Griffith park los angeles california When I learned that longtime friend, Wattie Ink teammate and mentor-figure Dusty Nabor was entering the coaching ranks at Accelerate 3 with my 2015 Ironman Arizona coach Brian Stover, I eagerly signed aboard. Griffith park food Dusty and I both have been heavily influenced by Brian’s training approach, so the coach-athlete fit is natural. Griffith park hike map Plus, Dusty knows my tendencies and is local…he’ll help protect me from myself! Tying it all together, the MacMillan program reflected our general collective approach of high-volume, low-intensity training. Griffith park horseback riding hours This allows for more training, better recovery and a gradual increase in vascular-muscular-aerobic capacity. Horseback riding in griffith park Optimal training.

But what exactly was in the plan? Most of it called for easy, aerobic-paced runs — literally four out of every five sessions at least. Griffith park caves These were the same kinds of runs I did ad nausea preparing for Ironman Arizona with Brian last year. Griffith park dogs Guess what though? They work. Griffith park zoo haunted Sure, I did some speed work typically once a week and as the race drew closer there were at least four 18-20-plus mile runs that included some tempo pacing. Griffith park halloween But overall, steady volume at a conversational pace was the typical daily workout. Griffith park los angeles map My biggest issue was staying slow and easy, not going harder or faster.

So if you see workouts like 3×10-20-minutes at tempo or threshold pace routinely during your coached marathon training…well, good luck with that. Griffith park entrance I’ve been there before, and it’s counter-productive.

Race Day Nutrition: Race week approached, and confidence in my training allowed me to free up mind space to think about other important race day issues like nutrition. Griffith park history I consulted Brian and Dusty for their thoughts and created my own plan based on their input about a basic caloric threshold I’d need to hit to maintain energy from start to finish.

I think we nailed it. Griffith park steamers We figured I’d burn at least 2,500-3,000 calories over the course of the marathon, and I did. Griffith park dog park To put back roughly half of those calories into my system, I ate a bowl of oatmeal with almonds and raisins, half a peanut butter sandwich on cinnamon-raisin bread, and a banana roughly two hours prior to the race. Griffith park fountain During the race, I consumed five Gu Roctane gels (5×100 cal.), a Honey Stinger packet of chews (160 cal.) and 18 ounces of Fluid Performance (~150 cal.). Griffith park observatory hiking trails I lost one Gu gel packet early in the race and wished I hadn’t, but still believe I ate and drank enough throughout the morning. Griffith park kids My pacing was almost perfectly consistent and I never felt like I hit a mental wall — especially in the spots I typically do during an Ironman marathon (miles 13-15 and miles 18-23). Travel town griffith park hours Nor did I have any issue with getting the food and drink to stay down. Griffith park wiki Better still, I hardly experienced any cramp-like moments, outside of a brief twinge in my right hamstring very late in the race and some abdominal tightness within the last two miles. Griffith park restaurant I attribute that good fortune at least partially to the Sport Legs pills I take prior to races and long training runs.

Pacing: This took a giant leap of faith. Griffith park tennis I really had no idea whether I could maintain a 7:19-7:21 overall marathon pace, though Dusty, Brian and my friends who have qualified for Boston assured me otherwise. The griffith park observatory I chose to listen to them and absorb their good vibes.

Prior to race day, I bought a pace sheet from for a nominal price (thanks to Jason Weilert for the tip). Griffith park train steamers You pick the race, enter some predictions about goal pace, fast or slow start, how much you expect to fade towards the end, and negative or positive split. Things to do near griffith park You then receive customized data for mile splits further influenced by the course elevation profile. Christmas lights at griffith park Then you can print it to create a DYI wristband. I planed to use the wristband as a specific target as much as possible. Griffith park observatory hike I knew it would serve as a fun mental distraction and tap into my videogames sensibilities. 2658 griffith park blvd los angeles ca 90039 I pictured racing games with time bonuses for each mile I completed, including 8-bit music sounds for perfect pacing.

As each split came in, my friend Sebastian Kouladjian exclaimed to my family and friends following along digitally, “He’s the Human Metronome!”

Yesterday, I noted my watch showed I was actually faster than these pace markers. Griffith park horses And honestly, I wasn’t trying to maintain 7:21 overall as much as I was trying to match and manage every single mile. Griffith observatory park To that end, I only hit the exact mile split once (7:20 at mile 19), but came within three seconds either way for 18 total miles, and was faster by more than three seconds for all but two of the other miles. Griffith park observatory hours Better still, I was faster than my pace predictor from miles 21 practically through the end of the race, except for being one second slower in mile 25.

I attribute my successful pacing to proper nutrition keeping me mentally strong enough to remain focused throughout the race. Griffith park picnic area It’s easy to get distracted when you’re surrounded by enthusiastic spectators, hordes of runners, and pace leaders yelling out every mile or so. Travel town griffith park Through that ruckus, I was able to remain calm and stay within myself, even letting the 3:13:00 pace group leaders go during various parts of the race when their pace didn’t feel right to me.

Course: The CIM course is billed as the fastest for BQs in the western United States, possibly in the entire country. Zoo griffith park Almost every mile is net-downhill.

But that doesn’t mean the race is flat! Far from it. Griffith park chicago My friend Jason warned me at dinner a few times prior to the race that the CIM course “undulates.” He added that there really aren’t many roads locally that truly emulate the course either. Griffith park hiking map I would now agree. Griffith park hike Every mile through 21-22 features at least one fairly significant rise in the terrain that felt like it lasted between five to 15 seconds. Map griffith park Taken individually, these tiny ankle-biters are inconsequential. Griffith park hollywood But your body will beg to differ late in the race, especially near the bridge around mile 21-22. Abandoned zoo griffith park Pacing the race correctly becomes that much more important. Food near griffith park It would be all too easy to go out and blast the first 10k to 13 miles but I think you’ll regret it.

The best example I can come up with to help you visualize the undulations would be portions of Pearblossom Highway (California State Route 138), that lonely narrow road connecting Antelope Valley to Victorville on the way to Las Vegas. Griffith park things to do If you’ve driven it before, you know there are long, flat stretches punctuated by small but noticeable rollers. How big is griffith park CIM’s rollers are even less pronounced than Pearblossom though. Griffith park deaths Another example might be some of the smaller hills on Zoo Drive at Griffith Park near Travel Town (not Trash Truck Hill!), and the rolling hills on Griffith Park Road heading towards Los Feliz Boulevard. Griffith park observatory laser show The rollers there are more exaggerated than at CIM though, and the distance between rollers is greater at CIM. Griffith park run You get the idea though, CIM isn’t an all-out downhill sprint course.

The weather was just about perfect. Griffith park parking The race started in the low 40s and finished in the low-mid 50s, with perfect sunshine and no wind (I got a slight sunburn, in fact). Laserium griffith park You can see in the images I didn’t have to bundle up, and I’m a notorious weather wuss. Train in griffith park The other great thing about the course is how well spectated it is. Griffith park visitor’s center auditorium I can’t remember one section of the entire race that was completely devoid of residents cheering runners on. Train museum griffith park That became especially important later in the race.

Pre-Race Routine: I traveled to Sacramento alone the day before the race, and outside of my friends Kayla and Alison, I didn’t know anyone racing. Autry griffith park I kept to myself in my hotel, ( Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel) situated literally across the street from the CIM expo and a bus departure for the race start in Folsom. Things to do in griffith park Following packet pickup on Saturday and a quick visit with Kyla, I didn’t leave my room from around noon Saturday until 5 a.m. Griffith park pony rides and trains on race day. Griffith park trail run Toes up! I controlled all my meals without worrying about pleasing other racers or family. Griffith park horseback riding prices Speaking of, Paesanos will fill amply fill your carb-loading Italian food needs.

There’s so much to be said for not needing to drop off multiple Ironman pre-race bags, a bike and thinking about a pre-race wetsuit swim. Griffith park los angeles ca Having so much free to myself felt truly luxurious, and I know that mental and physical opportunity to unwind contributed to my race performance.

Following the race, I just had to walk about three blocks from the State Capitol back to the hotel. Horseback riding griffith park The walking actually felt good to stay moving, despite the soreness and my shivering. Griffith dog park And if you want to fly back to Burbank same-day, the 2:55 p.m. Griffith park concerts flight on Southwest Airlines is ample if you’re speedy. Griffith park bike rental I took the 4:30 p.m. Griffith park film office flight home and hung out in the airport for an hour.

Poor Body Mechanics: See that crimson smudge on the inside of my left shoe? That’s blood. Observatory griffith park My blood…from my inside right ankle. Planetarium griffith park My left leg is collapsing inward, swiping my ankle enough to rub it raw and cause it to bleed down into my sock, like Curt Schilling. Griffith park southern railroad It’s likely a hip issue, complicated by an uneven pelvic girdle. Griffith park in los angeles My left hip dips slightly and my right hip is raised. Hiking trails in griffith park Further, I had been facing some Achilles complications in my left heel the last few weeks. Griffith park address My heel and lower calf felt tight enough to where I eased back a critical training week with about three weeks left before the race. Griffith park cougar Fortunately, my longtime massage therapist Efren Jimenez helped me work through the Achilles issue with electronic stimulation work and some deep tissue massage. Is griffith park haunted He also recommended kinesio tape for the race. Griffith park animals I knew Dusty was dead set against this. Restaurants near griffith park observatory After doing some research on my own, I concluded that the tape wouldn’t likely help me. Griffith park trails But it wouldn’t hurt either, and it could possibly help promote blood flow or add the slightest amount of stability. Hiking trails griffith park I didn’t feel any pain in my Achilles or calf, and haven’t been sore in that area post-race. Horseback riding at griffith park Did the KT tape help? Probably not. Hotels near griffith park But it didn’t hurt either.

Fitness Level: This is a minor point, and more of a pet theory of mine. Best griffith park hikes I haven’t ridden my bike much at all since Ironman Vineman in late July, and I have’t swam once since that race. Griffith park zoo hours My fitness level is fine enough as a pure runner, but compared to my usual triathlon training it’s very low. Griffith park observatory events I think had I been consistently swimming and biking, albeit not at intensity, I would have run even faster at CIM without affecting my fatigue and recovery levels. Griffith park blvd I plan to test this theory at some point in the future.

Before ending this gargantuan post, I would like to thank my wife for always and enthusiastically supporting my goals. Parking at griffith park Stephanie makes all of this possible and best of all, ensures that the only guilt I feel about training comes from me and not anyone else.

I also would like to thank Dusty and Brian for their support and insight. Griffith park map of attractions I’m excited to return to Accelerate 3! Efren, thank you for physically getting me through that race pain-free. Griffith park laserium And Andrew, thanks for checking in with me on the running plan.

There are two special forces veterans I’d also like to thank too. Griffith park observatory Out of respect for each, I’ll keep their names private. Griffith park los angeles But their inspiration drove me throughout the race. Autry museum griffith park One, a former Navy SEAL, gave me a challenge coin that I keep in my wallet. How to get to griffith park It’s truly one of my most cherished possessions. He once told me that what kept him going in tough moments was something he internalized during his early SEAL training, “We don’t do it because it’s easy. Griffith park lights We do this because it’s hard.” I thought of him a lot those last two miles.

Finally…Audra. Griffith park pool I hope you read these posts one day. Griffith park beaverton I hope they inspire you. Griffith park running routes Dream bigger than you thought possible. Old la zoo griffith park Push yourself farther than you thought possible to achieve your goals. The griffith park You won’t always succeed. Train griffith park But that journey will be more than worth it. Griffith park trail marathon I love you.