Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fukuoka and 2013

It's been almost a month since the Fukuoka Marathon, and I'm finally settling back into the grind.  Immediately after the race, I flew down to Ho Chi Minh City to meet my wife for some down time. Due to the cancellation of New York, I ended up with an 18 week marathon training block, so the break was welcomed. We explored Vietnam and Cambodia for three weeks, the first two of which I did not run a step. Our final week included waking up just as the sun was coming up to avoid the suffocating heat while still being able to see (not unlike Stillwater, OK in the summer!).  I'm now back in chilly Portland in the middle of my 3rd week of training and building the volume back up.

Let's jump back a month and allow me to share a few thoughts on the race in Japan. My previous blog discussed my approach for the 4 weeks in between the cancelled NYC Marathon and Fukuoka, and I think my coach and I planned it the best we could. Had I been able to race during my first peek, I would like to believe I could have run faster, but I cannot complain with a personal best of a minute given the circumstances. I had another positive experience in the marathon, and I am again looking forward to the next.  

The race itself was quite interesting. The small field of around 400 people made it feel much more like the Olympic Trials than..let's say...New York. About half of those 400 started on the track, and we did 3 laps around before heading out onto the road to meet the other half. We also finished on the same track with 500 meters. The crowds were fantastic and screaming everyone's name individually (first and last). Andrew Lemoncello, Scott Overall, and myself were fortunate enough to have Reid Coolsaet as rabbit. Reid made it through 30km with me even though he was only supposed to go through 20. At 30km he told me he was going to try to break 2:10.  At 31km he was stopped off to the side and cheering me on :) The final 10km were into the wind, and alone, but I had plenty of guys in front of me to pick off for the final few miles. My calves were also giving me trouble the last 10km. At each step they began to grab, as though they were both on the verge of locking up. Fortunately they never got to the point of a debilitating cramp, but it was an added challenge to an already tough last 6 miles. I will look at adjusting my fluids slightly and putting more miles in my racing flats during training before my 3rd marathon. I didn't secure the final podium spot until about 150 meters to go on the track. The podium finished earned me some prize money and a Japanese plate, which I managed to transport around Vietnam and Cambodia without breaking it. 

I am now in the process of sorting out schedule for the spring. I plan on giving the track another go before I commit myself fully to the marathon. While I do plan on running a marathon in the fall, I'd like to push myself a little faster in the 10km on the track and attempt to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow this summer. First, however, I'll be jumping into the USATF Cross Country Championships on February 2nd. My fitness will not be top notch, but it will be a solid early season test. More on that and the upcoming spring racing schedule next week. It's great to be back in Portland and back into the daily grind.