Thursday, September 18, 2014

Less than 7 weeks until the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

The first bit of weekly news is not directly related to the New York City Marathon, but I have been asked by Jerry Schumacher and Shalane Flanagan to help pace her to the American Record (2:19:36) at the Berlin Marathon on September 28th. It means a great deal to me that they consider me trustworthy enough for such an important task, and it fits very well into my training plan. My schedule had a long hard run planned for the exact same day, and I am experienced with European travel. I am put at ease by the fact that I will be setting the pace with veteran marathoner Rob Watson. I would also like to run the Berlin Marathon in the future, so this is an excellent opportunity to preview the course and meet the race organizers. I'll be leaving on Wednesday, arriving to Berlin on Thursday, and returning to Portland in the early morning following the race.

If you look at the calendar below, you'll notice that I've shifted my week to start on Sunday. With the schedule we have laid out from now to New York, this will make it easier to hit my mileage goals. This means that the Sunday workout shown on the schedule is the same as was described in last week's blog. I took this week a little lighter due to the travel and readjusting the legs to sea-level. The Fartlek on Wednesday occurred before flying back to Portland. We decided to go with a Fartlek due to the intensity of the Sunday workout and the hope to leave Flagstaff on a positive note, even if I was a little tired. The transition back to sea-level has been a bit more challenging than I thought it would be. Aerobically I feel great, but the legs have felt a bit awkward adjusting to the pace change as I'm trying to run quite a bit faster even on easy days. I have a couple of big workouts this week that will put my legs to the test.

My blood results have come back since returning to sea-level, and not surprisingly, most relevant indicators have increased. My iron has dropped, but this is simply due to the altitude and high mileage I was putting my body through. It was good to go in with such a high base ferritin level.  Feel free to check out the stats below. The first number is my level followed by the normal range; my apologies for the scattered layout. It may seem a bit strange to publish these numbers publicly, but when I have been considering altitude in the past, it was extremely difficult to find specific data, especially from elite runners. Everyone has a very different response, so the numbers from one athlete are not nearly enough to draw conclusions, but it's the best I can do. The numbers themselves do not predict exactly how my training will be impacted, but the next month of training will be the test as to how much benefit I was able to gain out of the 4 weeks at 7,000 feet. A huge thanks to Dr. John Howell at Portland Integrated Health and Medicine for getting the tests done, helping me analyze the results, and help plan my future altitude endeavors.

Last week's training is also below the blood work. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

BEFORE ALTITUDE (4 weeks in Flagstaff, AZ @ 7,000 feet)

CBC (INCLUDES DIFF/PLT)                                      RANGE
WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNT                  6.8          3.8-10.8 Thousand/uL
RED BLOOD CELL COUNT                       4.58        4.20-5.80 Million/uL
HEMOGLOBIN                                            15.0        13.2-17.1 g/dL
HEMATOCRIT                                            43.5         38.5-50.0 %
MCV                                                             95.1         80.0-100.0 fL
MCH                                                             32.7         27.0-33.0 pg
MCHC                                                          34.4         32.0-36.0 g/dL
RDW                                                            13.6          11.0-15.0 %
PLATELET COUNT                                   155           140-400 Thousand/uL
ABSOLUTE NEUTROPHILS                    5392         1500-7800 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE LYMPHOCYTES                 1020          850-3900 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE MONOCYTES                      231            200-950 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE EOSINOPHILS                     129            15-500 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE BASOPHILS                         27               0-200 cells/uL
NEUTROPHILS                                         79.3 %
LYMPHOCYTES                                       15.0 %
MONOCYTES                                            3.4 %
EOSINOPHILS                                           1.9 %
BASOPHILS                                               0.4 %
FERRITIN                                                  204             20-345 ng/mL

AFTER ALTITUDE (4 weeks in Flagstaff, AZ @ 7,000 feet):

WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNT      4.6              3.8-10.8 Thousand/uL
RED BLOOD CELL COUNT           4.72            4.20-5.80 Million/uL
HEMOGLOBIN                                15.6            13.2-17.1 g/dL
HEMATOCRIT                                45.7             38.5-50.0 %
MCV                                                 96.8             80.0-100.0 fL
MCH                                                 32.9             27.0-33.0 pg
MCHC                                              34.0             32.0-36.0 g/dL
RDW                                                 13.7            11.0-15.0 %
PLATELET COUNT                        172             140-400 Thousand/uL
ABSOLUTE NEUTROPHILS         2461           1500-7800 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE LYMPHOCYTES       1656           850-3900 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE MONOCYTES            202            200-950 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE EOSINOPHILS           258            15-500 cells/uL
ABSOLUTE BASOPHILS               23              0-200 cells/uL
NEUTROPHILS                               53.5 %
LYMPHOCYTES                             36.0 %
MONOCYTES                                 4.4 %
EOSINOPHILS                                5.6 %
BASOPHILS                                    0.5 %
FERRITIN                                       149             20-345 ng/mL NW

VITAMIN B12                                522             200-1100 pg/mL NW

Week 5 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Sunday 3 mi warmup, 4 mi tempo @ 5:06 pace, 10 mile run @ 6:15, 4 mi tempo @ 5:00, 3 mi cooldown – Lake Mary Rd. off

Monday 15 7 40 minutes 22

Tuesday 15 6.5 + drills and strides

Wednesday 10 x 5 minutes hard, 1 minute easy 5 easy – travel back to PDX

Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Friday 14 3.5 + 10 x 200 meter hills

Saturday 14 6




  1. Ryan - Do you use venofer to get your ferritin that high?

    1. I have never heard of venofer. I simply take a tablet of 65mg of iron along with a vitamin b and vitamin c tablet.

  2. How long do you expect change in blood chemistry to last? Good luck in Berlin hope Shalane can keep up!!