David J. Kearney

October 23, 2012

My First Marathon, Facing Failure & The White Flag

Filed under: Project Management,Running — David J. Kearney @ 5:22 pm

All-in-all my training plan to run the Columbus Marathon on October 21, 2012, was pretty sound and I was tolerating the long runs well. I was slightly ahead of the traditional schedule with a little wiggle room in case of injury or unexpected life events that may have prohibited a weekend long run. After reaching mile 19 in my training I began feeling a little bit of knee pain, but I really wasn’t too alarmed, in fact I planned for this (see my previous marathon planning post). Sure enough after some rest and easing up on my shorter daily runs, I was back and running 20 miles in a little over 4 hours. Again, after the 20 mile run I began feeling even more unfamiliar pain in my knees, hips, chins, and ankles. Again, no major worries…I figured I’d pull back a bit and let my body heal. Since I was basically a novice runner having only completed a half-marathon, I thought I would slow my pace up and just relax and continue to plan to complete the marathon. I figured if I wasn’t meant to run that I would be given a sign. Facing failure wasn’t really in the plan, since my goal was to finish 26.2 miles, not to match or beat any time.

The sign came, but certainly not in a way I expected or planned for. About a week-and-a-half prior to the marathon I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold. Again, not a big deal in my mind…a few days and I’d be feeling better. We’ll a few days later I was progressively getting worse and decided to Throw in the Towel 5 days before the race. The pain I was feeling in my throat was unbearable…a feeling of swallowing razor blades every time I swallowed and eating was excruciating, speaking almost impossible. On the day that I was to be running 26.2 miles I was diagnosed with severe Strep Throat, to the point where my throat was beginning to close up due to the infection and swelling. There was some talk about that if it gets any worse that I would need to have an abscess drained in my throat.

Now that I am beginning the healing process, I am reflecting on the lessons learned about marathons, marathon training, and testing one’s limits. Here are a handful of my thoughts:

1. Evening though you can’t plan for everything, thorough planning is a must.
2. Marathon training does involve much more time than just running time. After runs of 4+ hours, the rest of the day is pretty much shot. When running 10, 15, 20 miles, the energy used really impacts activity for the rest of the day.
3. Running long distances is more mental than physical. I heard it said before, but until you need to keep yourself mentally stimulated for hours while running, it is hard to image that keeping your mind going is more difficult than keeping your body going.
4. Getting going is hardest part…or as I heard before “the first mile is the hardest”. There were many early mornings that dragging myself out on the road at 5:00 AM was very difficult, but once I got going, it became easier.
5. You must have support of your family.
6. You must learn to consume calories consistently during long runs.
7. Training for a marathon needs to almost be exclusive over any other life activities. I think I had too much going on with my day job, family activities, career activities, and other life stuff.
8. If one does not push themself to an extreme, at least on occasion, you may never move forward.

At this moment, I have hung up my shoes to let my body and mind heal since starting this marathon journey. Although I don’t have the bragging rights to say that I completed a marathon and overall failure of the goal, I think I gained most of the benefits…better health, better acknowledgement of who I am, knowing I can push through thoughts of wanting not to run for 3 – 4 + hours, and knowing I can push myself to physical & mental limits.

Time for a much needed break…

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May 31, 2012

Project Marathon: The Road to 26.2 – My First Marathon

Filed under: Project Management,Running — David J. Kearney @ 12:30 pm

After coming off of and recovering from my first half-marathon in Pittsburgh (http://www.pittsburghmarathon.com/) on May 6, 2012, I have decided to pursue the full Columbus Marathon (http://www.columbusmarathon.com/) on October 21, 2012. I put together the following plan based on research, interviews, and experience from my first half marathon. Feel free to help me fill-in the blanks and critique The Plan, so I can be sure to avoid injury, train properly, and finish the marathon.

Project Marathon – The Road to 26.2

Goal of Project Plan: The goal of the Project Marathon – The Road to 26.2 project plan is to; 1) document plan that consists of various research, 2) develop baseline to understand process of training & running for a marathon, 3) train to be able to achieve completion of marathon 4) track progress and variations based on plan, 5) run the Columbus Marathon, and 6) document lessons learned and tips for future marathons and for others attempting a first marathon.

As everyone knows that has ever managed a project; a project is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, & techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Running a marathon seems to be the perfect fit to project management. A marathon, especially a first, is a fairly big undertaking and is a perfect project that needs managed. It is all about planning before you do. The Plan will be progressively elaborated throughout.

Marathon Areas of Focus:

Goal/Requirements: Complete Columbus Marathon/First Marathon within 5 hours 15 minutes

Stakeholders: Jenn, Caleb, Family, Employer(s), Me

Why: (all projects need a why)

  • Show what I am made of
  • Better understand what I am capable of
  • Set example for Caleb
  • Focus on a non-career and non-academic goal
  • Fitness
  • Mental Discipline
  • Physical Discipline
  • Tired of hearing my own excuses

Research Resources:

Injury Possibilities & Remedies:

  • Research summary – WIP

Calorie Consumption:

A basic rule of thumb is that you should be taking in about 100 calories after about an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 40-45 minutes after that. You may need more depending on your size and speed, so make sure you plan to carry extra food or gels. If you’re feeling hungry or low on energy, you can definitely eat “off-schedule”.

Food

  • Pre-Race Breakfast
  • During Race

Liquids

  • Pre-Race Liquids
  • During Race

Pre-Race Day

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Race Day

Food/Calories Tried Around and During Training Runs:

  • G Series Pre-Game Fuel – Fruit Punch: Pre-run (10 Miles) – Seemed to be OK
  • Gu Energy – Strawberry Banana: 5 Miles in to a 10 Mile Run – Post Run Issues?
  • PowerBar – Peanut Butter: Pre-Run (1 hour prior) of a 5 Mile Run – Seemed OK
  • Water – Occasionally during 5 Mile Run – Seemed OK
  • PowerBar- Nut Naturals Trail Mix Pre-Run – Maybe a little heartburn early in run
  • GU Chomps – Watermelon – Worked Great

Stretching

  • Research summary – WIP

Shoes

  • Changed from Nike Pegasus 28 to Brooks Glycerin 9. I am currently wearing out my third pair of Nike’s, but the Brooks do seem like a better fit for me.

Post-Race Clothes

  • Research summary – WIP

Pace

  • Research summary – WIP

Question I have been asked:

1. Who are you running/training with? No one. What I love about running is the solitude. Also, if I was running with someone, I might have a tendency to hold my running partner(s) back or be held back a bit during training.

2. What is your current diet? How did you lose weight and how much have you lost?  I am closely tracking and watching my food intake.  I use Calorie Count (iPhone App for tracking nad webapp for reporting/printing.  I am eating a lot of salads (sometime breakfast, lunch, & dinner), cliff bars, & fruit.  I lost about 30+ pounds in 4 months. 

3.  How can you run a full marathon?  (my son asked me this)  Because I think I can.  I am following the instruction that others have found they can finish with and I am going to try.

4.  Are you using anything to track your runs?  I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 for nearly all of my runs.   Garmin has an OK desktop app and a really nice webapp where I can catalog and  track all of my runs.  Very occasionally I use my iPhone in conjunction with the Garmin app if I don’t have my Garmin device available. I really don’t like bulk around my arm or anywhere else for that matter…I tried that with my iPod classic, but moved to a iPod nano G6 since it is much, much smaller. Maybe I just  haven’t gotten use to what I think of as a bulky iPhone, as I know many folks are OK with the use of iPhones for their running tracking device, but  I am not quite there, yet. I will be surprised what I do when my Garmin dies.  Alo, I am not thrilled with the iPhone battery life over a multi-hour run.

5.  When do you find time to train?  When do you run?  I have always been a early morning person, either for work or acedemic pursuits, so I generally get up around 4:30 AM (give or take 15 minutes) and get going.  During the work week I drive into the office and run the city then shower (the building I am in has a gym) and at my desk around 7:00.  There is not much different about my schedule here other than I am running, not studying or working, during this time.  On the weekends I use Sunday as my long-run day around the area I live.  Again, usually up around 4:30 and then usually back home around 8:00 – 8:30.  Typically, my rest days are Saturday and Monday.  I am considering adding another rest day to my schedule.

Training Schedule:

These two schedules; 1) I developed with research, and 2) one tweaked by a friend and muli-marathoner, Tony Chan. These training schedules will represent the framework that I will follow to prepare, but will remain flexible.

Training Schedule 1:

Columbus Training Schedule                    
21-Oct-12                    
  Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total  
June 3 – June 30                    
  1 9 0 5 5 5 5 0 29  
  2 10 0 5 5 5 5 0 30  
  3 7 0 5 5 5 5 0 27  
  4 6 0 5 5 5 5 0 26  
July 1 – Aug 4                    
  5 5 0 5 5 5 5 0 25  
  6 5 0 5 4 4 3 0 21  
  7 6 0 5 4 4 4 0 23  
  8 7 0 3 5 4 3 0 22  
  9 8 0 5 4 3 3 0 23  
August 5 – Sept 1                    
  10 10 0 3 4 4 3 0 24  
  11 11 0 4 5 3 3 0 26  
  12 12 0 4 6 3 3 0 28  
  13 14 0 6 4 3 3 0 30  
Sept 2 – 29                    
  14 16 0 4 7 3 2 0 32  
  15 16 0 5 6 6 3 0 36  
  16 17 0 5 5 5 3 0 35  
  17 18 0 5 8 5 3 0 39  
Sept 30 – Oct 21                    
  18 20 0 5 6 7   0 38  
  19 9 0 5 8 5 0 0 27  
  20 8 0 3 5 3 0 0 19  
  21 26.2                

Training Schedule 2:

Columbus Training Schedule                    
21-Oct-12                    
  Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total  
June 3 – June 30                    
  1 6 0 2 4 2 4 0 18  
  2 7 0 2 4 2 4 0 19  
  3 8 0 2 4 2 4 0 20  
  4 9 0 2 4 2 4 0 21  
July 1 – Aug 4                    
  5 10 0 2 4 2 4 0 22  
  6 10 0 2 5 2 4 0 23  
  7 10 0 2 5 2 5 0 24  
  8 12 0 2 5 2 5 0 26  
  9 12 0 2 6 2 6 0 28  
August 5 – Sept 1                    
  10 13 0 3 6 2 6 0 30  
  11 14 0 3 6 3 6 0 32  
  12 15 0 3 7 3 6 0 34  
  13 16 0 3 7 3 7 0 36  
Sept 2 – 29                    
  14 16 0 3 8 3 8 0 38  
  15 18 0 3 8 3 8 0 40  
  16 16 0 4 8 4 8 0 40  
  17 20 0 4 8 4 8 0 44  
Sept 30 – Oct 21                    
  18 21 0 4 6 4 6 0 41  
  19 12 0 3 6 5 6 0 32  
  20 8 0 3 4 3 0 0 18  
  21 26.2                

Recommendations to Consider – Provided to me by other marathoners:

  • “For your long run schedule, I might suggest a slightly different plan….”2 ups and a down”…do distance x for week 1, x+2 for week 2, and x-2 (or x minus more) for the third week. Then, for the next 3-week cycle, do it again where x=previous “week2” distance. Your body and mind need a little recovery time, especially on your first training cycle. “
  • “After running numerous half-marathos (age 60 PR of 1:48) I too have taken on training for my 1st full marathon, the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon on Nov. 11. A younger marathon veteran friend of mine suggested I look into the Jeff Galloway marathon training ( http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon.html ). I’ve been at it for several weeks now and found that his method truly does work. 17 mile Saturday runs of 3+ hours are easily doable even in this Texas heat. and the recovery time is minimal,even at age 62. If your current training method doesn’t p[roduce the results you seek you may want to explore Jeff Galloway’s. Good luck and happy trails! “

 

http://results.active.com/events/dick-s-sporting-goods-pittsburgh-marathon-2012/half-marathon/david-kearney

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