It’s Race Week – Livestrong Austin Half-Marathon

Posted: February 13, 2012 in Pace and Racing
Tags: , , , ,

It’s race week once again!  Man, it feels like we just had one of these, and truth told, we did.

When I set up this training cycle for Boston I knew that the stretch of weeks between January 9th and February 19th were going to be the most challenging. 

Smack in the middle of our Boston Marathon training cycle we would be stretching our weekly mileage from 58.63 to 65.50, racing a half-marathon, then increasing our weekly mileage to 71.25 and then 75 miles followed by a second half-marathon just three weeks later.

This is the “break it down” stage of the training cycle, which will be followed by the “build it back up” stage leading to our third and final half-marathon on March 18th – leaving four final weeks to the Boston Marathon to recharge the legs and taper properly for the marathon of our life.

So realistically, how well can I expect to race on Sunday at the Livestrong Austin Half-Marathon?  Including the race itself, I will still be logging a 50-mile week – I am definitely not “tapering” for an “A” race.

Well that is pretty much the point.  In the end I am just adding a very intense 13.1 mile speed workout to my marathon training.  Hoping to run those 13.1 miles over a very challenging, hilly monster of a course at somewhere between 6:28 and 6:32 pace.

Course Profile - Austin Style

A workout that without the competition of race day would be virtually impossible to duplicate.

That said, it is more than a workout for me on Sunday.  Running at a Livestrong event is something that will always take on special significance and meaning.  I’m racing for Dom on Sunday as well as my Mother who when faced with Brain Cancer last year at the age of 82 never asked “why me”, never passed on a Dr.’s appointment, treatment strategy or post-surgery test or procedure.

She beat the odds and is now in full recovery mode, no sign of any tumor on any scans, moving full-speed ahead towards her 83rd birthday this spring.

So on Sunday I’ll be alongside 11,000 other half-marathoners and more than 8,000 marathoners taking to the streets of Austin, trying to lay down something “special” for those that we care about.  Bringing awareness and support to a disease that knows no boundaries and discriminates against no one.

Whether you are a 38 year-old father of two small children or an 82 Mother and Grandmother who is universally loved – nobody is safe.  Cancer is a part of almost everyone’s life in America today.  If it has not effected you or someone that you love, consider yourself immensely fortunate and blessed.

One of the things that was so humbling during Run for Dom in 2010 were all of the letters, e-mails and notes I received that shared a story from someone about their own battle with the disease or the loss of a loved one.

It is something that never leaves you once you experience it firsthand – it makes you value the everyday experiences much, much more than you ever did before cancer became a part of your life.

So on Sunday morning I won’t be thinking about the miles on my legs over the past two weeks or the lack of time to recharge and reload.  I won’t be fretting the weather, the course, the wind or the hills.

I won’t be concerned with the runners around me, what place we are in or if we are on pace to beat our time from the Texas Half three weeks earlier.

My strategy for this race is simple.

I am going to go as hard as I can for as long as I can until I reach mile 12.  As the final hills try to take their bites out of me, I’m going to instead take bites out of them.

It won’t all be pretty on Sunday, but the finish line is going to look pretty beautiful when we get there.

No chance of anything being left in the tank at the end of this race – I owe it to Dom and Mom to lay it all on the line.  I’m going to welcome the hurt, embrace it and leverage it in the form of fuel and fire.

If you plan on finishing ahead of 13056 on Sunday, bring your A-Game.  Just Sayin’.

  1. Erin Ruyle says:

    Go Get ‘Em, Joe! Rooting for you.

  2. Patrick says:

    Wow. I’m new to 50 mile weeks. Just this week I was getting concerned that its too much too soon. Then I see your post of 50, 60 and 70 miles weeks. That’s crazy!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Patrick – great to hear from you! Thanks for the message. This is uncharted territory for me also, NYC was my first marathon training cycle that I went past 50-52 miles a week and I dipped my toe in the 65 mile range just a couple of times. A lot of coaches say that those additional total miles are what will help you stay strong over the final 10 kilometers, which has been my trouble spot in chasing a 3 hour time. One coach I respect said that if you “triple” your average run distance over your marathon cycle, that is the number of miles you run divided by your number of runs – that is how far you will be able to maintain pace before you slow. So if you average 8 miles a run, including long runs, short runs, tempo work etc. – then you would be able to hold pace for 24 miles.

      If you average 9 miles, you will be able to hold 27 etc. – so I’m in that sweet spot averaging around 10-11 miles this cycle, some weeks as high as 12, some closer to 9.5, but in the end, I think the slower, longer endurance miles will pay off for me in Boston. It’s been a two-year process to work up from 50 miles to 75, stay healthy and not just add a bunch of “junk miles” that look good on a calendar, but don’t do a lot for you. As with anything it’s about the quality, not the quantity – I think you are looking just about perfect – I wouldn’t change a thing.

      All of your runs are focused on the right things, and you are getting in quality long workouts just about every weekend. Stay the course – you are rocking your training.

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